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Center of Pharmacological Research for the Study and Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease  

Director
Prof. Elena Tremoli
elena.tremoli@unimi.it

Scientific Committee
Prof. Mariapia Abbracchio, Prof. Francesco Alamanni, Dr. Damiano Baldassarre, Dr.ssa Marina Camera, Prof. Donatella Caruso, Prof. Susanna Colli, Prof. Alberto Corsini, Dr. Alessandro Lualdi, Prof. Rodolfo Paoletti, Dr. Alessandro Parolari, Prof. Gianluca Polvani, Dr. Giulio Pompilio, Prof. Angelo Sala, Prof. Cesare Sirtori, Dr. Mauro Amato, Dr. Pablo Werba

The activity of the Centre is focused on the study and prevention of cardiovascular diseases and aims at developing basic research on cellular biology and biochemistry of atherosclerosis and thrombosis in patients affected by cardiovascular diseases.

The Centre is hosted by the Centro Cardiologico Monzino, a Scientific  Institute for Research and Treatment (IRCCS) exclusively devoted to cardiovascular diseases where basic research is merged with clinical applications to develop a translational cardiovascular medicine.

The Centre main goals are:

  • understanding how cardiovascular system responds to physiological and pathological changes
  • identification of new biomarkers of cardiovascular diseases
  • development of novel therapeutic approaches
  • identification and control of conventional and emerging risk factors in order to decrease the incidence and rate of recurrence of cardiovascular events

 

Activities

-        Program for primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular diseases

-        Research programs /projects in collaboration with other Italian Atherosclerosis Centers

-        Scientific communication / Scientific activity communication

-        Masters and Specializing Courses

-        Seminars, congresses, meetings with experts

-        Grants for young researchers

 

Units

In the Centre 7 Units are active:

 

1. Unit of Cell Biology and Biochemistry of Atherothrombosis

Marina Camera, PhD

Head of the Unit

MCamera

The research activities of the Unit are focused on the biochemical, cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the development and progression of the atherothrombotic disease and on their pharmacological modulation. To this aim, approaches ranging from cell biology to molecular biology are used with a highly integrated strategy between basic (using both in vitro cultures of human and animal cells, animal models) and clinical research performed on patients with cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, a genomic and proteomic approach is also exploited.

 

2. Unit of Cardiovascular Proteomics

Cristina Banfi, PhD

Head of the Unit

 CBanfi

The goal of the Unit of Proteomics is the development of new, generally applicable technologies of proteomic analysis for generating new discoveries in specific areas of cardiovascular research using a synergistic combination of contemporary two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, a well established mass spectrometry facility, and state-of-the-art methods of biochemistry and gene expression/regulation analysis.

Several proteomic approaches have been recently applied to the study of: a) plasma; b) circulating cells; c) circulating mediators (lipoprotein, microparticles); d) secreted proteins (secretome); e) cell cultured systems; f) tissues; and g) organelles in the search for new mechanistic or diagnostic biomarkers for cardiovascular diseases.

 

3. Unit of Biochemistry of Oxidative Stress and Endothelial Function in Atherothrombosis

Viviana Cavalca, Ph.D

Head of the Unit

VCavalca

The Unit has a long-standing interest in metabolic pathways involved in oxidative stress and NO synthesis. The research activities are focused on the study of oxidative stress in relation to endothelial dysfunction and activation of circulating blood cells, as platelets, leukocytes and red blood cells.

In our Unit, chromatographic methods (HPLC, LC-MS/MS) with high sensitivity and specificity have been set up in order to determine oxidative modifications of proteins, lipids and nucleic acids in plasma and urine.

 

4. Unit of Experimental Thrombosis and Imaging in vivo

Luigi Sironi, Ph.D

Head of the Unit

LSironi

The Unit is located in the Department of Pharmacological and Biomolecular Sciences of the University of Milano and is dedicated to the study of vascular, cerebro- and cardio-vascular diseases. These studies are carried out with a multidisciplinary approach, taking advantage of the strict collaboration among  biologists, physicists and  engineers. The Unit  has at its disposal a remarkable combination of different imaging modalities together with a  high variety of different animal models ,including knock-outs, knock-ins and transgenic mice.

Research program focuses on pharmacological control of brain ischemia, inflammatory diseases, neurodegenerative processes, and renal failure. Recently, the field of interest has been extended to vascular thrombosis, heart failure and myocardial ischemia and their therapeutical treatment. Moreover, the pathogenesis of thrombotic disorders, particularly regarding the role of plasmatic, vascular and cellular mediators of thrombogenesis, is also investigated as well as the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in the thrombus generation and progression.

 

5. Unit of Atherosclerosis Prevention

Josè Pablo Werba, MD

Head of the Unit

JPWerba

the Unit carries out original research initiatives aimed to uncover the many yet-unidentified environmental or genetic determinants of: 1) cardiovascular risk, 2) earliness of vascular event presentation, 3) plaques distribution within the arterial tree, 4) type of clinical presentation and 5) event recurrence. In addition, the Unit collaborates in studies aimed to investigate the pathophysiology of heart-harmful diseases (e.g. obesity, diabetes, liver steatosis, very high or very low HDL cholesterol levels) as well as mechanisms of efficacy/resistance, pleiotropic and side effects of consolidated and novel drugs for the control of cardiovascular risk.

 

6. Unit of Arterial Morphology and Function

Damiano Baldassarre, Ph.D

Head of the Unit

DBaldassarre

The Unit of Arterial Morphology and Function is focused on the non-invasive assessment of early atherosclerosis. Most studies are performed using B-mode ultrasound, which provides information on the presence and extent of atherosclerotic plaques, intima-media thickness (or IMT) and vessel lumen diameter of superficial arteries. These variables are used as "surrogate" markers of atherosclerosis.

Main research topics of the Unit are:

  • identification of new atherosclerosis risk factors on the basis of their effect on C-IMT and endothelial function.
  • Identification of new tools for the study of atherosclerosis and for improving predictability of vascular events.
  • assessment of the association between C-IMT progression, conventional and emerging risk factors and incidence of cardiovascular events.
  • assessment of the effects of pharmacological treatments on morphological and functional properties of superficial arteries.

In addition, the Unitcoordinates and acts as core laboratory in national and international multicentre studies on the epidemiology of atherosclerosis.

 

7. Unit of Biostatistics

Fabrizio Veglia, Ph.D

Head of the Unit

The Unit of Biostatisticsprovides advice, support and implementation  in protocol design, quality control of databases, data coding, input, and statistical analysis of clinical studies performed by the clinical teams of Centro Cardiologico Monzino. It collaborates in the design, and is in charge of data analyses, of epidemiological, clinical and experimental studies performed by the research Units.

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