The Phase II COCVD supports five research projects that focus on critical mechanisms by which obesity may contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease that has increased in incidence and severity with the prevalence of obesity. While the epidemic of obesity in the United States has spurred considerable research into genetic and behavioral factors that impact the development of obesity, and which link obesity to type II diabetes, few investigators with expertise in the cardiovascular system have entered obesity research.

The COCVD framework consists of established senior faculty who provide mentored research experience in an interdisciplinary environment to promising junior investigators working in the area of obesity and cardiovascular disease. The University of Kentucky is fortunate to have considerable depth in senior, well-funded faculty with extensive experience in mentoring and who use state-of-the-art integrative, clinical, cellular and molecular approaches to the study of obesity and cardiovascular disease

The COCVD has assembled a unique team of junior investigators who have previous research experience in obesity or cardiovascular disease, strong records of research productivity, and an excellent scientific background. The team of junior investigators, representing both physicians and basic scientists, work together as researchers in an integrated environment to translate findings from the bench to bedside to significantly impact the epidemic of obesity in the nation. This focused, in-depth research experience promotes continued growth of their research programs and lays the foundation for them to successfully compete for NIH funding.

Role of adipocyte PRR in obesity and hypertension
Frederique Yiannikouris, PhD, Assistant Professor
Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences, College of Medicine

ApoE and energy substrate metabolism
Lance Johnson, PhD, Assistant Professor
Department of Physiology, College of Medicine

Circadian Disruption and Atherosclerosis 
Julie Pendergast, PhD, Assistant Professor 
Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences

Adipose Tissue Gamma Delta T Cells in Aging and Obesity
Marlene Starr, PhD, Assistant Professor
General Surgery