The University of Arizona Health Sciences Career Development Awards (CDA) program recently selected Andreia Chignalia, PharmD, PhD, research assistant professor of anesthesiology at the College of Medicine – Tucson, as one of its four 2021 recipients.
“I am honored to be a recipient of the University of Arizona Health Sciences Career Development Award. This award is the first step to my transition to an independent investigator,” Dr. Chignalia said. “With the proposed studies, we hope to identify novel mechanisms whereby pulmonary edema develops during heart failure.”
Dr. Chignalia’s research interests focus on lung injury associated with cardiovascular disease. Since arriving at the College of Medicine – Tucson in 2019, she has started an independent line of research aiming to understand how certain proteins contribute to oxidative lung injury in the settings of heart failure and hypertension.
Pulmonary edema, characterized by excess fluid in the lungs, is a severe and underappreciated complication of heart failure. Yet, there are no lung-targeted therapies to treat this condition. Dr. Chignalia will investigate how glypican-1, a proteoglycan found in the lungs, contributes to pulmonary edema onset in conditions that mimic acute heart failure. Dr. Chignalia will test the hypothesis that glypican-1 triggers pulmonary edema when lung capillary pressure increases. The results of studies like these could be the foundation for exploring alternative treatments for pulmonary edema.
CDA scholars must complete an independent research project, which is expected to generate sufficient pilot findings to enable the submission of an NIH K-series or R01 grant (or equivalent) by the second year of the program. Each scholar also must choose a lead mentor, or mentors if the project is multidisciplinary.
“Her previous clinical experience and background as a PharmD give Andreia the right set of skills to build a translational research group in the area of pulmonary complications secondary to cardiovascular disorders with her highly original investigations. She also has demonstrated a high level of independence as she brought her own line of investigation to our group meetings,” said Dr. Chignalia’s primary mentor, Stephen M. Black, PhD, chief of the Division of Translational and Regenerative Medicine and director of the Lung Vascular Pathobiology Program. “Andreia is a highly promising academic professional and an asset to the University of Arizona Health Sciences.”
The CDA program was established by the Office of the Senior Vice President for Health Sciences in 2014 to provide research training and funding for junior faculty members and foster academic careers in clinical and translational research. Selected scholars are provided with mentorship, research training and salary support, plus funding for travel and research supplies.
The other junior faculty members who were selected for this latest round of awards will be profiled in the coming weeks:
- Chris Lim, PhD, assistant professor of community, environment and policy, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health;
- David Tzou, MD, assistant professor of urology, College of Medicine – Tucson;
- Amanda Wilson, PhD, MS, assistant professor of community, environment and policy, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health