Biomedical engineering and cardiovascular medicine team receive major grant

Researchers are developing a new treatment for sarcoidosis

Jennifer Jordan, Ph.D.; Jordana Kron, M.D.; Antonio Abbate, M.D., Ph.D.; William Gregory Hundley, M.D.
From left: Jennifer Jordan, Ph.D.; Jordana Kron, M.D.; Antonio Abbate, M.D., Ph.D.; William Gregory Hundley, M.D.

Jennifer Jordan, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Biomedical Engineering, and collaborators from the VCU Health Pauley Heart Center will receive a 2019 Collaborative Sciences Award from the American Heart Association to investigate a new treatment for cardiac sarcoidosis.

The co-principal investigators from the Pauley Heart Center are Jordana Kron, M.D., an associate professor in the VCU School of Medicine, Antonio Abbate, M.D., Ph.D., a cardiology professor at the VCU School of Medicine, both cardiologists; and William Gregory Hundley, M.D., the center’s director.

“Collaborations such as this between the College of Engineering and School of Medicine make VCU so special and a large part of what drove me to join the VCU Ram family,” Jordan said. “We’re very excited to share our expertise to implement innovative imaging techniques with novel therapies to potentially make a huge impact on an often fatal disease.”

The team is studying a new treatment protocol for cardiac sarcoidosis, an inflammatory condition that can lead to cardiac failure. Sarcoidosis, which can involve any organ system, has no cause or cure, and the most common therapy has not been proven to work.

Jordan, who is director of the Cardiovascular MRI Core Lab at the Pauley Heart Center, will evaluate cardiac inflammation using novel cardiac magnetic resonance techniques. She will use her expertise in cardiac magnetic resonance to help assess inflammation in cardiac sarcoidosis and evaluate responses to treatment.

The three-year grant is awarded to multidisciplinary teams including researchers from fields outside cardiovascular disease and stroke to foster innovative collaborative approaches to research projects.

The American Heart Association award builds on a Pauley Pilot Research Grant that Jordan and Kron, a translational science scholar at the VCU C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research, received to evaluate the efficacy and safety of using medication to block interleukin-1, a protein whose presence indicates inflammation.