MRTG: Funding Leads to NIH Grant

Tobias Eckle, MD, PhD, now Associate Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology, Preoperative Care and Pain Medicine at the University of Colorado Health Science Center, received a Mentored Research Training Grant from FAER in 2008, and we received his final report in 2011. His grant was titled Myocardial Ischemic Preconditioning through Hypoxia Inducible Factor (HIF)-1α and his mentor was Holger K. Eltzschig, MD, PhD. Dr. Eckle wrote in his cover letter to the final report:

“… This grant has provided me with substantial support in establishing my basic science laboratory here in Denver. Thus, I was able to obtain a National Scientist Development Grant from the American Heart Association (AHA) and an NIH-KO8 grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). My NIH KO8 award obtained an extremely high score of 20 and was therefore funded after first-time submission. Such success was definitively only possible by getting familiar with the whole application process of a peer-reviewed grant as the FAER MRTG.”

Myocardial pre-conditioning is an important current research topic and has important clinical as well as basic science implications. Dr. Eckle and his mentor published a review in Nature Medicine (17(11): 1391-1401, 2011) on ischemia and reperfusion that is a good place to learn more about this important research.

For this study, Dr. Eckle looked at the role of HIF-1α, which plays a ubiquitous role in the oxygen sensing pathway in many cells and is perhaps best known for its roles in the kidney where it activates the gene that encodes for erythropoietin in response to anemia. HIF-1α also controls the induction of cardiac A2B adenosine receptors during ischemia. Using a mouse model, they have found a critical role for cardiac A2B adenosine receptors in mediating the protective effects of ischemic preconditioning.