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Francine Welty Laboratory

Clinical Research Study

Do you have heart disease and a weight problem? You may be eligible to participate in a clinical research study! Learn more >>

Contact Information

Francine K. Welty, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine
CardioVascular Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
375 Longwood Avenue
MASCO Building, Room 433
Boston, MA 02215
Tel: 617-632-7659
Fax: 617-632-9928
email: fwelty@bidmc.harvard.edu

Education/Training/Appointments

  • BA (cum laude),Yale College
  • MD, PhD, Case Western Reserve School of Medicine.
  • Residency, Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • Cardiology fellowship, New England Deaconess Hospital in Boston
  • Director and Principal Investigator of the NHLBI Specialized Center of Clinically Oriented Research (SCCOR) in Vascular Injury, Repair and Remodeling,
  • Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School
  • Staff cardiologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Research Interests

Dr. Welty's cardiology research lab focuses on 2 areas: 1) modification of cardiovascular risk factors and inflammation to prevent atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease and 2) identification of genes for complex diseases. Her group is studying modifiers of inflammation including diet, exercise and salsalate in metabolic syndrome and the effect of soy in postmenopausal women. Computed tomographic angiography is being used to assess amount of noncalcified coronary plaque. Her group is also involved in genome wide association scans for genes causing type 2 diabetes and hypertension in the Amish.

Dr. Welty is Principal Investigator of the NHLBI Specialized Center of Clinically Oriented Research (SCCOR) in Vascular Injury, Repair and Remodeling: Metabolic Syndrome, Inflammation and Vascular Remodeling. 720 subjects with metabolic syndrome and coronary heart disease (CHD) are being randomized to one of three arms: intensive lifestyle changes, salsalate (a drug inhibiting inflammation) or usual care. The amount of noncalcified coronary artery plaque and composition are being assessed by computed tomographic (CT) angiography. Three ancillary studies are underway: 1) composition of aortic plaque and aortic wall thickness with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); 2) the relationship between oral health, systemic inflammation and atherosclerosis and 3) the relationship between endothelial progenitor cells, noncalcified plaque and inflammation.

 
Dr. Welty's laboratory has shown that soy lowers systolic and diastolic blood pressure, triglyceride levels, inflammation (C-reactive protein [CRP]) and adhesion molecules (VCAM and ICAM) in hypertensive, prehypertensive and normotensive postmenopausal women and in women with metabolic syndrome and that a potential mechanism may be improvement in inflammation as evidenced by lower levels of CRP and adhesion molecules. She has also shown that equol producers have greater benefit than equol non-producers. Future studies include examining the effect of soy on endothelial progenitor cells.

 
Dr. Welty's laboratory is performing genome wide association scans in the Amish to search for genes for type 2 diabetes and blood pressure. Genetics of biological aging is also being examined.
Dr. Welty discovered the apoB-67 mutation which causes low levels of LDL-C and high levels of HDL-C. Mechanisms for these changes are being examined in human subjects with the apoB-67 mutation using stable isotopes and multicompartmental computer models developed by Dr. Welty. Physical and chemical characterization of HDL lipoprotein particles in the apoB-67 mutation is also ongoing. Cardiac MRI for triglyceride deposition is being proposed. Kindreds with the apoB-67 mutation, which is a founder mutation in the Amish, are being extended to determine if the mutation predisposes to longevity and protects against cancer and atherosclerosis. Magnetic resonance imaging of the liver in these subjects is underway to determine if a higher content of fat in the liver predisposes these subjects to insulin resistance and diabetes.

Highlighted Recent Publications

 
Nasca MM, Zhou JR, Welty FK. Effect of Soy Nuts on Adhesion Molecules and Markers of Inflammation in Hypertensive and Normotensive Postmenopausal Women. Am J Cardiol. 2008 Jul 1;102(1):84-6.

 
Welty FK, Lee KS, Lew NS, Zhou JR. Effect of Soy Nuts on Blood Pressure and Lipid Levels in Hypertensive, Prehypertensive and Normotensive Postmenopausal Women. Arch Int Med. 2007;167:1060-1067.

 
Millar JS, Brousseau ME, Diffenderfer MR, Barrett PH, Welty FK, Cohn JS, Wilson A, Wolfe ML, Nartsupha C, Schaefer PM, Digenio AG, Mancuso JP, Dolnikowski GG, Schaefer EJ, Rader DJ. Effects of the Cholesteryl Ester Transfer Protein Inhibitor Torcetrapib on VLDL Apolipoprotein E Metabolism. J Lipid Res 2008;49:543-549.

Clouse ME, Sabir A, Yam CS, Yoshimura N, Lin S, Welty F, Martinez-Clark P, Raptopoulos V. Measuring noncalcified coronary atherosclerotic plaque using voxel analysis with MDCT angiography: a pilot clinical study. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2008 Jun;190(6):1553-60.

Wenger NK, Lewis SJ, Herrington DM, Bittner V, Welty FK for the Treating to New Targets Study Steering Committee and Investigators. Outcomes of Using High- or Low-Dose Atorvastatin in Patients 65 years of Age or Older with Stable Coronary Heart Disease. Ann Intern Med. 2007;147:1-9.