Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Department of Preventive Medicine

Postdoctoral Training Program in Vascular Disease at the Northwestern Center

Northwestern University is one of four nationwide recipients of the American Heart Association’s Strategically Focused Research Network (SFRN) on Vascular Disease. Dr. Mary M. McDermott is the Principal Investigator of the Center. Dr. Mercedes Carnethon directs the post-doctoral fellowship training program. The title of Northwestern’s Vascular Disease Center is Skeletal Muscle Pathology and Disability in Peripheral Artery Disease.

The overall objective of the Northwestern University SFRN Center is to characterize the specific ischemia- related pathology in calf skeletal muscle biopsies from people with PAD and establish the association of ischemia-related calf muscle pathology with mobility loss in PAD.

The Northwestern University Center in Vascular Disease, led by Dr. McDermott, has a long history of successfully investigating and defining the natural history of functional impairment and decline in people with peripheral artery disease (PAD) and identifying interventions to improve walking performance and prevent functional decline in people with PAD. Post-doctoral fellows will work with leading scientists studying multiple aspects of skeletal muscle pathology and functional impairment and decline in peripheral artery disease.

Northwestern’s SFRN Center in PAD will use calf muscle biopsy specimens in people with PAD to achieve the following goals: a) identify ischemia-related pathologic, metabolic, and mitochondrial abnormalities in calf muscle of people with PAD; b) establish associations of these specific calf muscle abnormalities with mobility loss, and c) identify novel therapeutic interventions that target these specific calf muscle abnormalities in order to improve functional performance, quality of life, and mobility in people with PAD. The three primary research projects that the Northwestern Center will conduct are as follows:

  1. Clinical: Nicotinamide riboside with and without resveratrol to improve functioning in PAD: the NICE Trial. Principal Investigator: Mary M. McDermott, MD
  2. Population/Epi: Mitochondrial dysfunction and disability in peripheral artery disease. Principal Investigator: Philip Greenland MD
  3. Basic: Calf muscle mitochondrial dysfunction and impaired autophagy in peripheral artery disease; Principal Investigator: Christiaan Leeuwenburgh, PhD

Overview of Training Program

The Northwestern SFRN Center supports two-year postdoctoral fellowship positions for individuals interested in advanced training in vascular disease. Research fellows will be trained in both science of vascular disease and the application of research methods to investigate and treat vascular disease. Northwestern’s highly individualized 2-year training program offers basic, clinical, population, and randomized trial experience. The fellow’s progress will be overseen by established nationally-recognized scientists and mentors.  The fellowship provides opportunity to collaborate with other Vascular Disease Network centers across the United States.