Scott Earley Ph.D., Department of Pharmacology, receives Outstanding Investigator Award from the NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

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A superresolution image from the Earley lab, of ion channels in a vascular smooth muscle cells was selected for the cover of the journal Science Signaling June 23, 2020.

A superresolution image from the Earley lab, of ion channels in a vascular smooth muscle cells was selected for the cover of the journal Science Signaling Vol 13, Issue 637, June 23, 2020.

Scott Earley Ph.D., Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Director of the Center for Molecular and Cellular Signaling in the Cardiovascular System at UNR Med has recently received the Outstanding Investigator Award (OIA) from the National Institutes for Health (NIH) National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

The title of the grant is "TRP channels as fundamental sensors of the cerebral microcirculation." The grant will fund the Earley team's research on the role of transient receptor potential (TRP) ion channels in the control of blood flow in the brain. 

Optimal flow of blood within the brain is necessary for brain health and function, but the processes and responses are incompletely understood. 

The Earley lab's goal is to better understand how the brain's ever-changing milieu of physical, environmental, endocrine, paracrine, metabolic, and neurochemical stimuli are sensed by the cerebral microvasculature at the cellular level, and how these signals are processed to ensure homeostasis and adaptability.  

"Blood flow within the brain must be tightly controlled to prevent damage to small blood vessel in cases where perfusion pressure is too high or in ischemia, where pressure is too low," says Earley. "Blood must also be redirected to highly active brain regions to maintain activity. Our lab is conducting a series of studies that will investigate a class of molecules called 'transient receptor potential channels,' that detect the brain's needs and redirect blood flow to maintain an optimal state." 

The award will result in $862,070 per year for seven years, for a total award of just over $6 million. The grant will begin on Feb. 1, 2021 and end on Jan. 31, 2028. 

The purpose of the NIH NHLBI R35 Program is to promote scientific productivity and innovation by providing long-term support and increased flexibility to experienced Principal Investigators (PIs) who are currently PIs on at least two NHLBI R01-equivalent awards and whose outstanding record of research demonstrate their ability to make major contributions to heart, lung, blood and sleep (HLBS) research.   The R35 OIA is largest individual grant awarded by NHLBI, and the organization's most prestigious.

"The work that Dr. Earley and his research team are doing in cardiovascular health research is significant in advancing our understanding of cerebral vascular dysfunction in age-related diseases," said UNR Med Dean, Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D.  "Dr. Earley's Outstanding Investigator Award from the NIH is evidence that UNR Med is at the forefront of innovative solutions to improve human health."

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The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, Nevada's first public medical school, is a community-based, research-intensive medical school with a statewide vision for a healthy Nevada. Established in 1969, UNR Med is improving the health and well-being of all Nevadans and their communities through excellence in student education, postgraduate training and clinical care, research with local, national and global impact and a culture of diversity and inclusion.

Released: Tuesday January 5, 2021 @ 6:00 AM