Bradley Gelfand, assistant professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, has been awarded a research grant from the American Heart Association to study atherosclerosis. The grant will be used to determine whether the same novel findings previously discovered in human age-related macular degeneration also apply to human atherosclerosis. In particular, which levels and activity of the enzyme Dicer are altered in the vessel wall during atherosclerotic lesion formation. One consequence of Dicer reduction could be the build-up of unwanted, toxic RNA's that are normally eliminated by Dicer activity. The research is to essentially determine whether the enzymatic deficiency initially described in human AMD also occurs and contributes to atherosclerosis development. The grant is a scientific funding grant which provides funding for Gelfand's project for four years. Gelfand has been with UK since 2010 when he came to study as a postdoctoral scholar under Dr. Jayakrishna Ambati. He received his doctorate (PhD) degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Virginia. His graduate work focused on how mechanical forces influence both endothelial biology and the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Media Contact: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or