Personal Genomics and Cardiometabolic Disease

Investigating the Relationship Between Cardiac and Metabolic Diseases

The CVI's nationally recognized research program in Personal Genomics and Cardiometabolic Disease is taking a close look at molecular signs of heart disease with the goal of uncovering early disease risk factors.

Robert Gerszten, MD
Robert Gerszten, MD

Directed by Dr. Robert Gerszten, the Program in Personal Genomics and Cardiometabolic Disease at BIDMC is a national leader in metabolomics and proteomics technologies. Among its key discoveries, the Gerszten laboratory has identified novel biomarkers that single out individuals destined to develop diabetes and heart disease more than a decade before disease onset, with the goal of determining which of these patients might benefit from early clinical interventions.

The group's highly interactive program incorporates basic molecular and cell biology, chemistry and mass spectrometry, and bioinformatics, with a foundation in clinical medicine. The program collaborates with researchers from across numerous institutions, including the Broad Institute, the Framingham Heart Study, the Jackson Heart Study, the Diabetes Prevention Program, and the TIMI Study Group.

The Gerszten laboratory focuses on the nexus of cardiac and metabolic diseases. To expand the novelty and clinical impact of its studies, the laboratory has developed and incorporated emerging mass-spectrometry-based technologies for the discovery of new biomarkers and pathways contributing to atherogenesis and its complications.

Focusing on "metabolomics," the team is conducting biochemical profiling aimed at identifying intracellular small molecules serving in hormone-like capacities on distant organs, including the control of blood pressure and glucose homeostasis. Because small molecules are downstream of genetic variation and transcriptional changes, they serve as "proximal reporters" of physiology, and may be relevant biomarkers for human diseases.

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