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Predisposition and Risk

The aim of the research program Predisposition and Risk is to determine factors that predispose to a particular phenotype (such as plaque formation, infarction or restenosis) and to provide parameters of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. These risk factors can then be used to stratify study populations and to predict disease-related events. For a successful translation of such epidemiologic research into benefits for at-risk-individuals and patients we set emphasis on the following research topics:

  1. the characterization of additional CVD-related phenotypes based on imaging, genetic and metabolic profiling and response to treatment
  2. the identification of critical time points in the dynamic development of CVD by repeated measurements within individuals as provided by cohort studies
  3. the investigation of comprehensive datasets from disease-related tissues other than blood, specifically from multiple tissues and the use of cell lines including iPS technology

Within this research program the ability and position to take part in international large-scale epidemiological studies is expanded.

Disease mechanisms in the context of genetic variation

Recent advances in genomic medicine have led to the identification of a large number of genes that harbor variations contributing directly or indirectly to coronary heart disease and its associated conditions such as arrhythmias, heart failure or stroke. Researchers from the Munich Heart Alliance contribute continuously to the identification of new genes and innovative metabolomic studies have been successful in correlating genetic variations with metabolomic profiles. Further emphasis is set on such studies as this will lead to the identification of novel therapeutic targets.

Novel measures of CVD risk prediction and prevention

A comprehensive assessment of risk factor profiles in combination with molecular and clinical phenotyping and their integration into further individualized risk stratification makes an interdisciplinary approach mandatory. The research network within the Munich Heart Alliance provides an ideal basis for this. Researchers of the MHA have exceptional expertise in assessing the impact of physical activity and nutrition on CVD. Within this program aspects of primary and secondary prevention of CVD will be addressed as well as factors of survival by integrating clinical, epidemiological, health services research and health economics. Novel approaches will be developed to integrate physical activity, mental health and environmental exposures as well as genetic, proteomic and metabolic markers for predicting susceptibility to CVD.