Fight Against Top Killer, Clogged Arteries, Garners Acclaimed NIH Award

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Atherosclerosis is the foremost cause of coronary artery disease, the number one killer of people in the United States. Credit: National Institutes of Health

Principal investigator Tony Kim with graduate research assistant Yoshitaka Sei (r.) and research engineer Jiwon Yom (m.) in Kim's lab at Georgia Tech. They are holding microvessel mimicking chips. More advanced versions to be developed in their new NIH-funded project will contain artificial human coronary arteries for research to better understand HDL, or good cholesterol, and why experimental treatments using it to fight atherosclerosis have failed. They hope to optimize HDL cocktails to be effective against the deadly condition that is the foremost cause of coronary artery disease and stroke. Credit: Georgia Tech / Christopher Moore

Microfluidic chips which will contain artificial human coronary arteries for highly reproducible experiments with engineered HDL. Credit: Georgia Tech / Christopher Moore

Endothelial cells seen in a microvessel mimicking chip. Researchers will develop a similar artery-on-a-chip, which researchers in Tony Kim's lab at Georgia Tech will use to study the effects of engineered HDL and inflammatory protein in atherosclerosis. They hope to gain insights into which "good cholesterol" treatments have failed in atherosclerosis, and will look for HDL cocktails that are more effective. Credit: Georgia Tech / Tony Kim lab

The new research will include the development of a human-coronary-artery-on-a-chip, a microfluidic chip cultured with human arterial cells. Shown here is a similar microvessel mimicking chip. The new chips will be used to test the effectiveness of engineered high-density lipoproteins, or good cholesterol, in fighting atherosclerosis. Credit: Georgia Tech / Tony Kim lab

In atherosclerosis, plaque builds in arteries behind the inner lining, or epithelium, in a process involving inflammation and immune reaction complications. Credit: NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Georgia Tech biomedical engineering researcher Tony Kim has received the esteemed NIH Director's New Innovator Award for his proposal on high-throughput research to tackle new possible new treatments for atherosclerosis. He is holding up a microvessel mimicking chip. For the new research, he will develop a new, similar chip called a human-coronary-artery-on-a-chip. Credit: Georgia Tech / Christopher Moore

Microfluidic chips similar to these will contain artificial human coronary arteries for highly reproducible experiments with engineered HDL. In the background a mold for the high-throughput production of nanoparticles. The chips shown are microvessel mimicking chips. Credit: Georgia Tech / Christopher Moore