Getting to the Heart of the Matter
According to the World Health Organization, heart disease is currently the leading cause of death worldwide. It is expected that by 2030, 23.3 million people will die from heart disease and stroke every year.
As Canada Research Chair in Arterial Wall Biology and Atherogenesis, Dr. Myron Cybulsky is studying atherosclerosis, the accumulation of plaques within the arterial wall, in the hopes of finding ways to help decrease these numbers.
As plaque accumulates within the arterial wall, it narrows and hardens the arteries, which in turn hinders blood flow. These arterial plaques can rupture, allowing blood to clot inside an artery and potentially cause a stroke or heart attack.
Although many risk factors for atherosclerosis and associated heart disease have already been identified, how these harmful plaques are formed is not yet fully understood. Cybulsky will build on his 20 years of research to get to the root of what ignites this often deadly chain of events. Specifically, he will investigate the communication between endothelial cells that line the inner surface of arteries and white blood cells that reside in the inner layer of the normal artery. He will also determine how this communication is altered in the early stages of atherosclerosis.
Cybulsky hopes that by offering a better understanding of how and why these plaques form, his research will help doctors to treat heart disease before it becomes fatal.