Cardiovascular researcher wins top US investigator award

A researcher at the BHF Glasgow Cardiovascular Research Centre has received a prestigious award from the American Heart Association.

Dr Christian Delles, a clinical senior lecturer in the Department of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, was presented with the Harry Goldblatt New Investigator Award for his research work at a ceremony in Chicago on September 24.

This is the first time in several years that the award has been given to an investigator based outside the US. Dr Delles received a plaque and a cash prize of $1,000.

The award is presented to a new independent investigator working in hypertension or cardiovascular research who has significantly contributed to understanding of the causes of hypertension and related cardiovascular disease.

Three researchers were shortlisted for the award, who then had to give a presentation at the 63rd High Blood Pressure Research Conference in Chicago, with the winner chosen by a panel of judges.

Dr Delles, from Landsberg am Lech in Germany, specialises in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease, including hypertension and coronary heart disease.

The research he presented at the ceremony outlined the differences in gene expression between patients with cardiovascular disease and a control group. The study found altered gene expression between the two groups which translated into different levels of inflammatory markers in the blood and to oxidative stress and changes in the function of the blood vessels.

Several genes in the patient group were up-regulated in comparison to the control group, producing results such as increased stickiness of white blood cells to the blood vessel lining – indicative of the early stages of plaque formation on the arteries – and the up-regulation of genes involved in inflammation.

It is an important first step in understanding the role of gene expression in cardiovascular disease and how this knowledge might be used to develop new drug therapies.

Dr Delles said: “It is an honour to receive this award which is the result of more than three years of clinical research with detailed characterisation of our study participants and laboratory based research involving a team of basic scientists.

“It is a truly collaborative project between clinician and basic scientist and the award belongs to the whole team.

“We are also extremely grateful to those patients who attended our clinical research facility on the day before their bypass operation for the clinical tests, and to healthy volunteers who donated considerable amounts of their time to help us with this research.”

Dr Delles trained at the Universities of Freiburg, Germany and Innsbruck, Austria and completed his clinical training in internal medicine and nephrology at the University Hospitals in Erlangen and Nurnberg in Germany.

He has been a senior lecturer and honorary consultant at the BHF Glasgow Cardiovascular Research Centre since 2005.


 For more information contact Stuart Forsyth in the University of Glasgow Media Relations Office on 0141 330 4831 or email s.forsyth@admin.gla.ac.uk

First published: 9 October 2009

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