The Grenon Lab's current research program encompasses two areas:
Lifestyle modifications for peripheral arterial disease (PAD)
It is well known that lifestyle issues including nutrition, physical activity, and stress have a high impact on disease development and readaptation in patients with cardiovascular disease. The evidence for how nutrition, physical activity, and stress affect patients with PAD is less clear. In my research program, we are conducting different clinical studies on how these factors impact PAD.
For example, in one study, OMEGA-PAD, we are investigating the effects of omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) in patients with PAD, looking more specifically at endothelial function and inflammation. In another study, the OMEGA-Bedrest study we are investigating the effects of physical inactivity on endothelial function, insulin resistance and inflammation, and are also testing a countermeasure (fish oil) for physical inactivity.
These clinical trials parallel research projects in my basic science laboratory studying how fatty acids influence the interactions between monocytes and endothelial cells, two cell lines critical to the development of atherosclerosis. We hope that these studies will help us understand how factors present in everyday life can impact the development of atherosclerotic disease in the lower extremities and how we can target specific therapies or lifestyle modification programs to help with this disease.
Adaptations to the gravitational mechanical unloading environment
What happens during spaceflight is not too different than when people lack physical exercise: the cardiovascular system becomes deconditioned. This part of my research program aims to draw parallels between what we can learn from astronauts flying in space and cardiovascular diseases on earth. Hence, we are conducting studies simulating the effects of microgravity on earth, specifically at the level of the organ ("physiological") and at the level of the cells ("cellular").