The Program was established by a generous gift from Marc and Ruti Bell in 2003. The founding member is Edward A. Fisher, MD, PhD, the Leon H. Charney Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and professor of Cell Biology. Dr. Fisher subsequently recruited Drs. Carlos Fernandez-Hernando and Yajaira Suarez (both assistant professors of medicine and cell biology) from Yale, and Dr. Kathryn Moore (associate professor of medicine and cell biology) from Harvard. Each investigator has a vigorous and NIH-supported research program, and the areas covered include vascular biology, lipid/lipoprotein metabolism, inflammation, and atherosclerosis, particularly its regression.
In 2010, all of the investigators in the Bell Program were co-authors of a landmark study published in Science establishing microRNA 33 (miR33) as a regulator of cholesterol efflux from cells and the formation of HDL. This micro RNA was independently discovered by Drs. Fernandez Hernando and Moore, who began collaborating after arrival at NYU to complete the set of comprehensive studies that were the basis of the publication. Further work in the Fernandez-Hernando laboratory has recently extended the effects of miR33 to glucose homeostasis and fatty acid metabolism. The Moore laboratory has recently shown that an antagamir of miR33 regressed atherosclerotic lesions in mice, and in support of its translational potential, has also shown in a paper in Nature that miR33 antagamirs raised HDL levels and lowered VLDL levels in monkeys.
As exciting as the miR33 area has become, it represents only one example of the outstanding research done in the Bell Program. The Fernandez-Hernando and Moore labs have a diverse portfolio of projects and detailed information on them can be found by clicking on each investigator’s name. Other research examples include the Suarez lab’s pioneering the roles of micro RNAs in endothelial cells and blood vessel formation, and the Fisher lab’s defining major pathways regulating hepatic lipoprotein secretion and creating of mouse models that have invigorated the study of atherosclerosis regression.
The investigators of the Bell Program have been widely recognized for their achievements. For example, at the most recent scientific sessions of the Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, Vascular Biology Council of the American Heart Association (the most prestigious meeting in these research areas), Dr. Moore won the Jeffrey Hoeg Award (the highest honor of the Council for an established investigator), Dr. Suarez a New Investigator Award (for the outstanding paper published by the ATVB journal in vascular biology in 2011), and Dr. Fisher was recognized for his service as Editor in Chief of the ATVB journal. In addition, a former NYU post-doctoral fellow of Dr. Moore’s, Dr. Katey Rayner (now at the Ottawa Heart Institute), won the Irvine H. Page Young Investigator Award (previously won by Dr. Fernandez-Hernando in 2010).
For more news on the Bell Vascular Program and our other research, click here.