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Research at NCIRE

NCIRE-The Veterans Health Research Institute is the leading private nonprofit institute devoted to Veterans health research in the United States. Our mission is to advance Veterans health through research.

We support the work of some of the nation's foremost physicians and scientists at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the premier biomedical research facility in the VA system. All have faculty appointments at the University of California, San Francisco, which has its own proud traditions of research and patient care. We also partner with the U.S. Department of Defense to support health research on behalf of our men and women in the Armed Forces.

Those who have served in uniform have given their best for their country. In return, we believe that they deserve nothing less than the best health care research we can provide.

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Joel S. Karliner, MD

Staff Physician and Associate Chief of Medicine for Research, SFVAHCS
Professor of Medicine and Cardiology, UCSF


Investigating New Strategies for Protection Against Heart Damage

Dr. Karliner uses models of heart disease in rodents to study the effects of drugs and of the body's natural defenses, with the goal of understanding how these drugs and defenses might be used to prevent acute heart attacks. These models simulate acute heart attack through either oxygen deprivation or abrupt cessation of blood supply to the heart in order to determine the functional and biochemical effects of these interventions. Effects of drugs and natural defenses are investigated in heart tissue, isolated heart cells, and mitochondria, which generate energy within cells. These studies also include the use of genetically altered mice in which one gene is deleted or excessively active, in order to discover how these genes and the proteins that are derived from them are involved in the mechanisms of protection against heart attack. New knowledge about the mechanism of action of these drugs and defenses, and how they affect biochemical signals and enzymes, can lead to new strategies that would either prevent or ameliorate heart damage in patients undergoing a variety of procedures. These procedures include both cardiac and noncardiac surgery in patients, especially elderly veterans, who are at higher risk for heart damage during and after stressful procedures. Patients undergoing stent deployment in coronary arteries and other vessels will also benefit.

To see Dr. Karliner on Pub Med, click here.