Ritu Chakravarti, PhD

Study:  To Understand the Role of 14-3-3 In Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA)
Institution:   Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland, Ohio
Award:  $49,000, one-year study

Chakravarti’s interest in GCA is simple: It is the most common form of vasculitis where the causative agent is not known.

Her research studies the agent causing inflammation of the aorta that manifests as GCA and affects 1 in 500 adults in America. The current therapy primarily uses steroids to suppress immune function causing significant morbidity.

“We hope that our results will facilitate early detection and better treatments for GCA patients,” Dr. Chakravarti says. “Our proposed work is the first step in identifying the causative agent and we would continue to test specificity of known targets. We will possibly look for novel targets involved in the disease. The next big step would be to facilitate non-invasive test for the early detection of GCA.”

The grant will help Chakravarti build a research base and will facilitate generation of useful results.

“It’s a very important bridge needed to find novel direction and sufficient data needed to develop future therapeutics,” she says.