Baker Receives NIH Director's New Innovator Award
Tuesday, 20 September 2011 00:00

Aaron Baker

Aaron Baker

Aaron Baker, an Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering, has been selected as one of 49 scientists and engineers around the country to receive a National Institutes of Health Director’s New Innovator Award.

The award is designed to support unusually creative new investigators with highly innovative research ideas at an early stage of their career.

Baker will receive $1.5 million over five years to study and develop innovative ways to regrow small blood vessels in the heart. The ability to regrow the vessels could prove crucial to treating chronic myocardial ischemia disease, which leads to a reduction of blood flow in the heart, ultimately, causing organ dysfunction and failure.

"Aaron’s work is extremely important for our country, as chronic myocardial ischemia disease affects more than 27 million patients in the U.S. and is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in developed countries," said Nicholas Peppas, Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

The disease has traditionally been treated by physically opening the artery or surgically rerouting blood flow to the poorly perfused tissue. Both methods have limitations, however, and are not effective long-term.

With the NIH grant, Baker will study why previous attempts to restore blood flow to the heart have not been effective. His research aims to design new molecular tools and drug delivery methods to enable blood vessel growth in patients with diseases such as diabetes.

"Together, the studies performed and the tools developed will increase our understanding of how tissues become resistant to revascularization therapies and may lead to more effective treatments for this widespread and debilitating disease," Baker said.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.


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