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A consortium directed by Dr. Kalyanam Shivkumar at UCLA has received a three-year, $8.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The consortium hopes to map the heart’s nervous system, ultimately developing new treatments for cardiovascular disease.

The award is from an NIH program called Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions, or SPARC, which supports research on how the electrical signals of the peripheral nerves that connect the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body control internal organ function.

Professor David Paterson, who is part of the seven-strong team collaborating in this research noted that “Many diseases of the cardiovascular system are also diseases of the autonomic nervous system. Traditionally both systems have been studied extensively in isolation.  This is the first major strategic initiative in the world that has funded a framework where leading groups can work together to re-assemble cardiac and neural information to better understand heart-brain and brain-heart interactions.”

Read more (Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics website)