Wei Chao, MD, PhD, FAHA, Professor of Anesthesiology and Physiology, was awarded an R35 grant, $1,931,250.00, from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIH/NIGMS) to study “Extracellular miRNAs, innate immunity, and critical illness”. According to NIH, the goal of the R35 award, also known as Maximizing Investigators' Research Award, is to provide investigators with greater stability and flexibility, thereby enhancing scientific productivity and the chances for important breakthroughs. Dr. Chao's team will investigate the role of innate immunity in sepsis and ischemic myocardial infarction (MI), two critical illnesses with very high mortality. While their etiologies are distinctively different, they share similar features of innate immune activation, marked tissue inflammation, and acute cardiac dysfunction. The specific goal of the R35 project is to delineate the mechanistic role of cell-free miRNAs and extracellular vehicles in innate immune activation and in the pathogenesis of sepsis and myocardial ischemic injury. Click here for more information on this grant.