Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death among women. Researchers and clinicians that can work across disciplinary boundaries are needed to effectively understand, prevent, and reduce the burden of CVD. A focus on women and CVD is critical given the multiple sex-specific risk factors for and manifestations of CVD that remain incompletely understood. This renewal application for an NHLBI Mid-Career Investigator Award in Patient-Oriented Research seeks support for Dr. Rebecca Thurston, an investigator with a strong track record in interdisciplinary mentoring, training, and research in midlife women's cardiovascular health.
The specific aims of this Project are to provide Dr. Thurston with the training, resources, and protected time to strengthen and amplify the public health impact of her NIH-supported research program by: (1) providing outstanding mentorship and support for young investigators from diverse fields to address questions of critical importance to women's cardiovascular health; (2) supporting training for Dr. Thurston and her trainees in (a) advanced analytic mediation methods and (b) select physiologic mechanisms (inflammation, epigenetics) highly relevant to the development of CVD in women; and (3) to leverage ongoing NIH RF1- supported research and to build upon the first phase of K24-supported research that demonstrated critical cross-sectional relations of menopausal symptoms (sleep problems, vasomotor symptoms) to carotid atherosclerosis midlife women, relations not explained by traditional CVD risk factors or by sex hormones. We will now (a) investigate how persistence of menopausal symptoms over time relate to carotid atherosclerosis and its progression and (b) consider key novel mechanistic (inflammatory, epigenetic) pathways that may critically link menopausal symptoms to CVD risk in women. Proposed mentoring and career development activities are highly integrated, with the mutually reinforcing goals of advancing trainee careers and enhancing Dr. Thurston's burgeoning program of research and training in women's cardiovascular health.

Public Health Relevance

This renewal application for a Midcareer Investigator Award in Patient-Oriented Research enables Dr. Thurston to develop the careers of the next generation of scholars in interdisciplinary and translational patient-oriented research on women's cardiovascular health. Further, it supports expansion of her research program into new, high impact areas in women's cardiovascular health to yield key insights into this leading cause of death in women. This award both extends the impact of funded research and supports the development of the next generation of patient-oriented research scientists.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Midcareer Investigator Award in Patient-Oriented Research (K24)
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Application #
Study Section
NHLBI Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Review Committee (MPOR)
Program Officer
Ludlam, Shari
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University of Pittsburgh
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Nowakowski, Sara; Matthews, Karen A; von Känel, Roland et al. (2018) Sleep characteristics and inflammatory biomarkers among midlife women. Sleep 41:
Thurston, Rebecca C; Barinas-Mitchell, Emma; von Känel, Roland et al. (2018) Trauma exposure and endothelial function among midlife women. Menopause 25:368-374
Thurston, Rebecca C; Bhasin, Shalender; Chang, Yuefang et al. (2018) Reproductive Hormones and Subclinical Cardiovascular Disease in Midlife Women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 103:3070-3077
Thomas, Holly N; Hamm, Megan; Hess, Rachel et al. (2018) Changes in sexual function among midlife women: ""I'm older… and I'm wiser"". Menopause 25:286-292
Aharon, Devora A; Friedman, Elissa Gretz; Overbey, Jessica R et al. (2018) The association of an alpha2C adrenoreceptor gene polymorphism with vasomotor symptoms in African American women. Menopause :
Thurston, R C (2018) Vasomotor symptoms: natural history, physiology, and links with cardiovascular health. Climacteric 21:96-100
Thurston, Rebecca C; Chang, Yuefang; Barinas-Mitchell, Emma et al. (2017) Child Abuse and Neglect and Subclinical Cardiovascular Disease Among Midlife Women. Psychosom Med 79:441-449
Thurston, Rebecca C; Chang, Yuefang; Barinas-Mitchell, Emma et al. (2017) Physiologically assessed hot flashes and endothelial function among midlife women. Menopause 24:886-893
Thurston, Rebecca C; Chang, Yuefang; von Känel, Roland et al. (2017) Sleep Characteristics and Carotid Atherosclerosis Among Midlife Women. Sleep 40:
Thurston, Rebecca C; Johnson, B Delia; Shufelt, Chrisandra L et al. (2017) Menopausal symptoms and cardiovascular disease mortality in the Women's Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation (WISE). Menopause 24:126-132

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