Bridging the Gap in Translational Vascular Research

Establishing an infrastructure for efficient tissue retrieval to support vascular research at the Medical College of Wisconsin

Full Project Name:Bridging the Gap in Translational Vascular ResearchPrincipal Investigator:Julie K. Freed, MD, PhD, AnesthesiologyCo-Investigator:Michael Widlansky, MD, MPH, MedicineAward Amount:$250,000
Award Date
May2021
Project Duration:24 Months

Project Description Narrative:


Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in both Wisconsin and the United States. Commonly referred to as heart disease, it is caused by a build-up of plaque that clogs arteries and leads to chest pain and heart attacks. Evidence suggests that these situations develop from the dysfunction of small blood vessels within the heart. This microvascular dysfunction can be studied through discarded fat tissue, which contains large amounts of these micro vessels.

Through this award, project investigators will establish a collaborative research environment to make the collection and study of these tissues more efficient, building a foundation for further research that can improve understanding and advance knowledge to improve cardiovascular health in Wisconsin.

Project Updates:


  • Strengthened the human tissue collection process, allowing for the execution of highly translational research in the MCW Cardiovascular Center resulting in the collection of over 700 human specimens for investigators to examine changes between health and disease states
  • Advanced understanding about how diabetes, cancer therapy and menopause lead to increased cardiovascular disease risk by studying small blood vessels within the body through the collected tissue samples
  • Leveraged tissue samples to receive over $5 million through two NIH awards Disseminated research findings resulting from the tissue samples through one published manuscript and one presentation

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