U-M Depression Center and Frankel Cardiovascular Center Announce Center-to-Center Collaboration Grant Award Winners

Awardees to focus on mental health outcomes in a cardiovascular disease population and bipolar microtissues

The U-M Depression Center and Frankel Cardiovascular Center recently announced two funding awards for their Center-to-Center (C2C) research collaborations. The C2C awards address the underlying conditions of cardiovascular and brain mood co-occurrences, allowing physicians and other clinicians to use research findings to better treat patients with these comorbidities.

C2C grants are intended to support innovative concepts focused on integrative research at the cross-section of cardiovascular disease and mental health disorders. Each Principal Investigator has a primary appointment within Michigan Medicine and are collaborating members of the Frankel Cardiovascular Center or Depression Center faculty.

The first project team title is, “Evaluation of Mental Health Outcomes in a Cardiovascular Disease Population.” Project goals are to: (1) uncover “at risk” cardiovascular disease (CVD) subtypes, (2) characterize depressive symptoms related to genetic testing for CVD genes, and (3) highlight potential association between markers of inflammation and depression and/or anxiety with CVD subtypes. The team hopes that discoveries from this proposal will lead to new, more effective therapeutic strategies aiming to mitigate symptoms of depression and anxiety as well as improve CVD outcomes. Investigators include Cristen Willer, PhD.; Srijan Sen, MD, PhD.; Whitney Hornsby, PhD.; Kenneth Jamerson, MD; Scott Hummel, MD; Matthew Konerman, MD; Bo Yang, MD, PhD; and Sue Ryskamp, MS, RD.

The second project team will look at “Bipolar Patient Specific 3D Cardiac Microtissues for Personalized Medication Testing in Vitro.” The team proposes to generate bipolar patient-specific 3D cardiac tissues for mechanistic study as well as for medication testing. The goals are to provide basic mechanistic insight into the pathogenesis of bipolar patient cardiovascular health and create a patient-specific medication testing platform that may inform clinicians on optimal medication recommendations. Investigators include Todd Herron, PhD; Sue O’Shea, PhD; and Melvin McInnis, MD. Dr. McInnis leads the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Fund and Dr. O’Shea is also a researcher for the Fund.

L to R: Todd Herron, Ph.D.; Melvin McInnis, M.D.; and Sue O'Shea, PhD.

L to R: Todd Herron, Ph.D.; Melvin McInnis, M.D.; and Sue O’Shea, PhD.

“The innovative projects have the potential to advance our understanding of the mechanisms, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of co-occurring cardiovascular diseases and brain-behavior disorders,” said John Greden, M.D., Executive Director of the U-M Depression Center. “Faculty from both Centers are excited to collaborate to improve our understanding of these complex comorbidities. Breakthroughs emerge only by working together.”

Each project team has been awarded $25,000 which will be dispersed over one year. Work will begin in the spring of 2017. Funding was made possible from the Depression Center Eisenberg Family Research Fund and the Frankel Cardiovascular Center.

Learn more about the U-M Depression Center here and the U-M Frankel Cardiovascular Center here.