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Investigating the role of autophagy in arterial calcification and arterial stiffness.

Cardiovascular calcification significantly contributes to cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of mortality and a major cause of morbidity in Europe. Cardiovascular calcification occurs in both rare monogenic (e.g. pseudoxanthoma elasticum) and in common acquired diseases (e.g. atherosclerosis and chronic kidney disease). Importantly, cardiovascular calcification is an active but incompletely understood process regulated by a variety of (epi)genetic and environmental factors, acting both systemically and locally. Despite its major clinical impact, no specific therapeutic strategies targeting cardiovascular calcification are applied in current clinical practice. In 2019, the Physiopharmacology and Pathophysiology research groups of the University of Antwerp were both part of the "eRaDiCal" consortium (H2020-MSCA-ITN call) aimed to investigate risk factors and underlying mechanisms across rare and common ectopic calcification disorders for the development of adequate diagnostic, preventive and therapeutic solutions to target cardiovascular calcification. eRaDiCal received an excellent reviewer score (94.8%, reserve list), but was not funded. As part of its strategic research plan, the University of Antwerp provides funding for excellent H2020 proposals to facilitate and encourage a successful resubmission. The teams of Physiopharmacology and Pathophysiology will use the budget to substantiate the evidence base on the role of autophagy in arterial calcification and stiffness. The intention is to recruit a (part-time) postdoc and/or PhD student to obtain preliminary data during the next year.
Date:1 Dec 2019 →  30 Nov 2021
Disciplines:Vascular diseases