An International Team Including Professor Lola Eniola-Adefeso Received $7.5M for Cardiovascular Disease Research

Lola Eniola-Adefeso, professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Associate Dean for Graduate and Professional Education, is part of an international research team that recently received $7.5 million in funding from the Leducq Foundation. 

The project, titled AntheroGEN, is focused on sex-specific mechanisms of cardiovascular disease. It is led by Mete Civilek at University of Virginia School of Medicine and Hester Ruijter at the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands. AtheroGEN will explore the sex differences in atherosclerosis, the leading cause of coronary artery disease, towards the development of novel, sex-specific therapies that help close the disparity in women’s cardiovascular disease treatment. 

“The bulk of our understanding of coronary artery disease is based on clinical information and research derived from men, leading to health disparity for women,” Eniola-Adefeso said. “Only recently are researchers evaluating sex-based differences in disease mechanisms and hence treatment. I am very excited to join the short list of labs now leveraging their expertise towards studying sex differences in human diseases to aid in improving treatment for women.” 

The results can have a significant impact on the understanding of other pathogenetic mechanisms that have a higher prevalence in women, such as sudden coronary artery dissection, vasospastic angina, and heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. 

Eniola-Adefeso’s lab has long worked to design targeted drug carriers that effectively research the blood vessel wall in large arteries typically affected by atherosclerosis. AntheroGEN will leverage their recently developed 3D printed model of human arteries and use their optimized drug delivery systems for targeted delivery of drugs directed against identified druggable targets. 

The Leducq Foundation was founded in Paris, France in 1996 by Jean and Sylviane Leducq with the principle aims of developing international research networks that advance science of cardiovascular disease and stroke, promoting the development of technology and therapeutics to improve human health, and allowing researchers to benefit from the added-value of collaborative work at the international level. 

As of 2020, the foundation has supported 70 international networks, representing more than 800 investigators at over 130 institutions in 25 countries. 

Eniola-Adefeso joined the University of Michigan faculty in 2006 and has since become University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor of Chemical Engineering and Miller Faculty Scholar. She received her bachelor’s in Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Maryland and her master’s degree and doctoral degree in Chemical and Biomedical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. Her career has brought her much recognition, including the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Mid-Career award, American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ MAC Grimes Excellence in Chemical Engineering Award, and Elected Fellow, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE).