UNC Greensboro’s Dr. Qibin Zhang, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry and co-director for the Center for Translational Biomedical Research, has been awarded $496,303 to study biomarkers of cardiovascular complications in Type 1 diabetes. This is the first-ever grant awarded by the American Heart Association (AHA) in Guilford County, and the association’s first for a UNCG researcher.
The Collaborative Sciences Award will enable Zhang and his team, including collaborators from the University of Colorado School of Medicine, to address a critical medical condition in the United States: cardiovascular disease. More than 2,150 Americans die from cardiovascular disease each day – one every 40 seconds. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in people with Type 1 diabetes, Zhang’s focus, and diabetes accounts for a majority of cardiovascular disease incidence in the United States. However, only about half of the risk can be explained by known factors.
“At UNCG, we have long been recognized as a higher-research activity university by the Carnegie Foundation,” said Dr. Terri Shelton, vice chancellor for research and engagement. “This award recognizes our expertise in developing and applying new knowledge that addresses a major health issue, not only in our community, but across the nation. We are honored to receive such generous funding from AHA; the fact that the university is the first to be awarded in Guilford County makes the grant even more special. This is ground-breaking, life-saving work.”
Since 1949, the AHA has invested more than $4 billion in research to increase knowledge about cardiovascular disease and stroke. Locally, the organization has provided $1.2 million in research funding in the Triad this year, with $18.6 million in research funding in North Carolina currently. AHA research programs have contributed to many important scientific advances, including CPR, pacemakers, drug-eluting stents, clot-busting medicines and cholesterol inhibitors, among others.