DMU professor lands NIH grant to investigate heart failure and kidney dysfunction

Nearly 40 percent of patients with chronic heart failure also develop kidney dysfunction. This condition, termed “cardio-renal syndrome,” is important to study as it is associated with higher morbidity and mortality in patients with heart failure. Noah Marcus, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the physiology and pharmacology department at DMU, is taking aim at specific chemoreceptors in the cardiovascular system in hopes of developing therapeutic approaches that disrupt this harmful process. 

For this research, Dr. Marcus was recently awarded a three-year grant of $380,000 from the Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Marcus’ application for the grant was titled “The Role of the Carotid Body Chemoreflex in the Development of Renal Dysfunction in Chronic Heart Failure.”

“It’s well established that chemoreflexes become abnormal in a certain percentage of heart failure patients,” he says. “I’m interested in the translational significance of these abnormal chemoreflexes and how they affect the progression of the disease, specifically the negative impact on kidney function and development of cardio-renal syndrome.”

Dr. Marcus will work closely on the proposed research with graduate students in DMU’s master’s program in biomedical sciences, medical students and research personnel within the department. The NIH grant awarded has a strong educational component to it,

which aligns closely with DMU’s mission and values.

“This type of research grant will provide valuable educational opportunities for DMU students as well as area undergraduate students interested in research,” he says.

Looking forward, Dr. Marcus anticipates that the research that this grant supports will generate several definitive, high-quality studies that “point us in the right direction” with respect to understanding renal dysfunction in patients with chronic heart failure.

In addition to supporting student research, the grant will help fund purchase of reagents and equipment.

“There are other areas of research interest in my lab that we’d like to branch out to,” he says. “This grant will help us build infrastructure that we can use to address questions that pertain to other cardiovascular/renal diseases in the future.”

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