Eugene Chen, M.D., Ph.D.
Cardiovascular disease takes the lives of more than 16.7 million people (29.2 percent of total global deaths) each year and at least 20 million others suffer heart attacks or strokes according to World Health Report 2003. While significant strides have been made in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, there is still much the scientific community does not understand about how it develops.
The partnership between UMHS and PUHSC offers a unique opportunity for leading researchers to study the disease in a large, genetically diverse patient population. Thus the Joint Institute has initiated several important studies designed to significantly advance understanding about the genetic basis of cardiovascular disease. In particular, the Joint Institute's work in this area studies the role genetics play in the development of risk factors, such as high blood pressure, as well as in the onset of cardiovascular diseases, including myocardial infarction, abdominal aortic aneurysm, and coronary artery disease. In addition, scientists are systematically studying the genetics and biology related to HDL, or "good," cholesterol to identify new strategies for effectively raising HDL in patients.