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IL: Midwestern University Researcher Receives Award from American Heart Association

February 25, 2014

by Office of Communications

AHA Check Presentation
The American Heart Association recently presented a research grant to Ashlesh Murthy, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pathology, on the Downers Grove Campus of Midwestern University. Pictured (from left) Gail Hasbrouck, incoming American Heart Association board chairperson; Kathleen H. Goeppinger, Ph.D., President & Chief Executive Officer, Midwestern University; Dr. Murthy; and Theresa Welch Fossum, D.V.M., Ph.D., DACVS, Vice President, Research and Strategic Initiatives.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recently presented a research grant to Ashlesh Murthy, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pathology, for his potential lifesaving research. Incoming AHA board chairperson Gail Hasbrouck, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at Advocate Health Care and other members of the AHA, travelled to the Downers Grove Campus to present Dr. Murthy with a $214,500 grant in recognition of his research involving Chlamydia pneumonia mediated atherosclerosis, a potentially serious disease in which plaque builds up inside a person's arteries. 

"The funding of this research is the foundation of our mission to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular disease and stroke, and we are pleased to be making this investment in the important work of the researchers at Midwestern University who are helping us achieve our goal," Ms. Hasbrouck said.

According to the AHA, cardiovascular diseases account for one-fourth of all mortality in the United States and atherosclerosis makes up a significant portion of this statistic. Chlamydia pneumoniae occurs the world over and 50-80% of adult populations are exposed to this pathogen at some time in their lifetimes. An infection of this type is strongly associated with atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases.

Dr. Murthy is working to identify the mechanisms by which Chlamydia pneumoniae infections exacerbate cardiovascular diseases and ways to reduce their occurrence. "We envision that in the long term we can make vaccine which would be a very effective way of targeting this disease. If we can reduce cardiovascular disease morbidity using a vaccine, like we do for many other diseases, it can be highly impactful for our society," Dr. Murthy said.

In addition to his research, Dr. Murthy teaches graduates students in Midwestern University's College of Osteopathic Medicine, College of Dental Medicine-Illinois, and the College of Health Science. He is one of several researchers on the Downers Grove Campus of Midwestern University working in a variety of fields to advance scientific knowledge.

Fellow researchers, faculty, staff, and members of the University administration attended the check presentation event to show their support for Dr. Murthy and their appreciation to the AHA. "I want to thank the American Heart Association for this grant and for being a partner with us," said Kathleen H. Goeppinger, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Midwestern University. "Midwestern University faculty members bring vitality to the classroom through their research which has the potential to make a real difference in people's lives."

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