Texas A&M postdoc receives award from the American Heart Association

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Sankar P. Chaki, Ph.D., a postdoctoral research associate working under the guidance of Dr. Gonzalo Rivera in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), has been awarded a two-year postdoctoral fellowship from the American Heart Association. This prestigious, highly competitive award will provide more than $100,000 to support Chaki’s project on molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in the formation of blood vessels.

Dr. Sankar P. Chaki

Dr. Sankar P. Chaki

Chaki’s proposed research focuses on understanding how new blood vessels form from the remodeling of pre-existing ones, a process called angiogenesis.  During angiogenesis, endothelial cells (the cells lining blood vessels) undergo a series of changes that alter their shape and their ability to respond to chemicals that promote vessel development. Some of these chemicals allow endothelial cells to invade surrounding tissues to begin the complex task of forming new structures that will expand the existing vascular network.

“It’s very new,” Chaki said. “We’ve generated some preliminary data, but there is still much to be learned from these key cellular processes driving blood vessel formation. I have plans to tackle this fascinating problem using a broad range of tools to improve our understanding of angiogenesis from the molecular to the organism level.”

Chaki hopes that his work could help to improve understanding of vascular formation in aggressively growing tumors.

“Sankar is a distinguished colleague and collaborator,” said Rivera, Chaki’s postdoctoral mentor since 2009. “His initiative, dedication, and advanced training have been instrumental in the development of this line of research in my laboratory. I have no doubt that this award will foster the development of Dr. Chaki’s career as an independent scientist.”

“I am lucky to receive this important award,” Chaki said. “I appreciate the guidance from my mentor, Dr. Gonzalo Rivera, as well as the support and advice from Drs. Robert Burghardt, Rola Barhoumi, Andreea Trache, and Linda Logan.”