Des Moines University researcher receives NIH grant

(Des Moines, Iowa) – A Des Moines University (DMU) associate professor has been awarded over $180,000 to study the effects of a protein on inflammation.

Andrew Brittingham, Ph.D., DMU associate professor of microbiology, was awarded the grant from the National Institutes of Health for his research project, titled “The Production of Endothelin-1 (ET-1) by Macrophages During Infection and Inflammation.” The three-year award is an Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. According to Brittingham, the research he and his team will conduct seeks to fill the gap in knowledge of the source and function of elevated levels of Endothelin-1, or ET-1, during inflammatory conditions, including atherosclerosis, sepsis and asthma.

“ET-1 is a protein that, among other functions, has a part in regulating blood pressure,” described Brittingham. “It is produced by cells that line blood vessels and is at high levels during inflammation. The information gathered as a result of this research could help sort out what triggers the release of ET-1 and what function the protein plays in inflammatory conditions.”

The grant will also allow undergraduate students from across Iowa to study with Brittingham on this project during the summer, along with DMU students who are on campus helping conduct research. In addition, Matthew Henry, Ph.D., DMU assistant professor of pharmacology, will serve as a collaborator/consultant on the project.

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