(Aug. 1, 2016) -- Ender Finol, associate professor of biomedical engineering at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), has been honored with the American Heart Association’s Collaborative Sciences Award. The award includes a $750,000 grant to continue his aneurysm research, which involves “freezing” aortic aneurysms before they burst and cause serious damage.
An aneurysm can be a time bomb, medically speaking, since people don’t know they have one until either a doctor detects it or it ruptures. In the latter case, there’s about an 80 percent fatality rate. If it’s caught in time, doctors will generally observe the aneurysm until it grows to about 5 cm in diameter, which requires surgery to give the blood vessels relief from the pressure.
“The status quo is that you can’t stop the growth of an aneurysm, so checking in until it’s time to intervene surgically is the only option for many people,” Finol said.
Just last year, Finol received a $1.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to support his research in predicting when aneurysms will need surgery by thoroughly mapping them with magnetic resonance images. Now, Finol is taking that research a step further by joining forces with Dan Simionescu, associate professor of bioengineering at Clemson University and Satish Muluk, system director of vascular surgery at the Allegheny Health Network.
The trio of researchers are using a chemical compound, pentagalloyl glucose, to “freeze” aneurysms in the aorta once they’ve been detected.
“The compound binds to two proteins in the aorta called elastin and collagen and stabilizes the artery by keeping the aneurysm from growing,” Finol said. “The aorta remains stable and we hope its biomechanical environment is also stabilized.”
Finol is now beginning work with Simionescu and Muluk as well as Eugene Sprague, Geoffrey Clark and Beth Goins, all faculty at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, to find a way to apply the chemical non-invasively to human subjects. For now, this award will support a 3-year animal trial.
Like Finol’s previous work to prevent unnecessary aortic surgery that could be costing lives, he hopes his research will pave the way for a new approach to aneurysm treatment.
“It’s a serious medical problem that requires an innovative, elegant approach,” he said. “As engineers, we can make a difference.”
Learn more about Ender Finol.
Learn more about the UTSA Department of Biomedical Engineering.
The events are a collaborative effort between student organizations, student led-groups, and campus departments.
Various locations, Main and Downtown Campuses
UTSA is a designated early voting site for the May 4 Joint, General and Special Election. Any registered Bexar County voter can skip the lines and cast a ballot at UTSA from Monday, April 22 to Tuesday, April 30.
H-E-B Student Union (HSU 1.002), Main Campus
In this UTSA 50th anniversary speaker series, Roger Enriquez, UTSA associate professor of criminal justice, explores how immigration past and present helps us understand its future.
Casa Hernán, 411 Cevallos St., San Antonio
An evening of fine food and drink inspired by UTSA’s renowned Mexican Cookbook Collection. Proceeds from the event will support UTSA’s Mexican Cookbook Collection.
Hotel Emma, 136 E Grayson St., San Antonio
Grab a friend and sign up to bowl with fellow Roadrunners and raise money for scholarships.
University Bowl, 12332 I-10 #10, San Antonio
The UTSA Department of Art and Art History present the work of emerging artists who are graduating from UTSA. Work ranges from traditional methods and materials, interdisciplinary and new media. Themes range from social and cultural critique to investigations that are challenging and exquisite explorations in creative form and image.
Arts Building, Main Art Gallery (ART 2.03.04), Main Campus
UTSA's first spring Commencement ceremony begins at 10 a.m., May 18 and honors graduates from the College of Liberal and Fine Arts and University College.
Alamodome, 100 Montana St., San Antonio
Students who are earning a degree from the College of Architecture, Construction and Planning, College of Business and College of Engineering will cross the stage on May 18 at 4 p.m.
Alamodome, 100 Montana St., San Antonio
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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