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Atherosclerosis Research Unit

ARU Research: The research of the Atherosclerosis Research Unit (ARU) is based upon three fundamental precepts:

  1. Apolipoprotein (apo) A-I-containing lipoproteins (HDL) play a major role in atherogenesis
  2. ApoB-containing lipoproteins (LDL) play a major role in atherogenesis
  3. The properties of the different apolipoprotein domains involved in the regulation of the functions of the (apo) A-I- and apoB-containing lipoproteins are determined to a major extent by the properties of the amphipathic motifs ubiquitous to apolipoproteins.

Amphipathic motifs represent the fundamental paradigm guiding the ARU over the 25 years of its existence. During this period of time we have demonstrated that amphipathic motifs (the amphipathic α helix and the amphipathic β strand/sheet) are fundamental to a full understanding of the cause and reversal of atherosclerosis.

The long-term objectives of the ARU are to continue the development of a comprehensive theory of the interaction of amphipathic motifs with lipid and to use this knowledge to:

  1. Determine the minimal structural features of apoA-I that can prevent and/or reverse atherosclerosis
  2. Determine the minimal structural features of apoB that are involved in both the biosynthesis of apoB-containing lipoproteins and the structure, function and properties of LDL
  3. Apply this knowledge to the understanding of mechanisms involved in prevention and reversal of atherosclerosis and to the development of pharmacological agents.

ARU research spans the spectrum from computational structural biology and basic physical chemistry of macromolecules to translational medicine and patient care. Members of the ARU are world authorities in two areas of atherosclerosis-related research:

  1. From the initial discovery of the amphipathic helix to the more recent development of detailed structural models of lipoproteins, members of the ARU are leading authorities on the molecular structure of HDL and LDL.
  2. From the pioneering use of synthetic peptide mimetics to probe the nature of the amphipathic helix to the more recent development of therapy for inflammation-related diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, and dementia, members of the ARU have led the way toward peptide-based pharmacology.

Opportunity for faculty involvement: Faculty, postdoctoral and predoctoral students are encouraged to participate in the ARU Program through collaborations with established ARU investigators. The Program is seeking to expand its teaching and research role at UAB.

Program contact persons:

, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Medicine, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry and Pathology
Director, UAB Center for Computational and Structural Biology
Director, Atherosclerosis Research Unit
Department of Medicine
630 Boshell Building
UAB Medical Center
Birmingham, AL 35294-0012
(tel) (205) 934-4420
(fax) (205) 975-8079
, Ph.D.
Deputy Director, Atherosclerosis Research Unit
Department of Medicine
UAB Medical Center
668 Boshell Building
Birmingham, AL 35294-0012
(tel) (205) 934-1884 or (205) 934-1883
(fax) (205) 975-8079

Leaders and Key Staff:

  • Jere P. Segrest, M.D., Ph.D., Director
  • G. M. Anantharamaiah, Ph.D., Deputy Director

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