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FOEDRC Co-Director Kamal Rahmouni receives new funding

Kamal Rahmouni, PhD, FOEDRC Co-Director and Professor of Neuroscience and Pharmacology has recently received a new R01 grant funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. His project title “Role of FGF21 Action in Hypothalamic Neurons in Obesity-Associated Hypertension” will be funded through November of 2026. The goal of this project is to study the brain processes that controls blood pressure and how dysregulation in these processes contribute to obesity-associated high blood pressure, a condition that often co-exist with type 2 diabetes. Dr. Rahmouni has identified the action of a hormone called FGF21 in the brain as novel mechanism that regulate blood pressure by controlling the activity of the nerves. Dr. Rahmouni’s lab will be using a multidisciplinary strategy combining cutting edge neuro-technologies to precisely and remotely modulate or monitor the activity of nerve with unique genetically engineered mouse models to interrogate how brain action of FGF21 affect blood pressure in health and disease. Insights into the brain processes that control blood pressure may make it possible to selectively interfere with the damage obesity inflicts on the cardiovascular system.

Along with his new R01 grant, Dr. Rahmouni’s VA Merit grant was also renewed. This project proposal titled “Neuronal Mechanisms of Obesity-Induced Hypertension” was originally awarded funding in 2019 and was recently renewed early this year for another 4 years. The goal of the current project is to understand how a protein, called mTORC1, controls of blood pressure. The nerve cells influenced by mTORC1 will also be dissected. Finally, the significance of mTORC1 in certain cells in obesity-related diseases will be analyzed. This research has the potential of identifying new therapeutic targets for the diseases that are caused by obesity.