Laura Mantella Receives CIHR Doctoral AwardPublished Fri Jun 23rd 2017
Laura Mantella is a MD/PhD student at Queen’s University. She received her Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology and Genetics from McMaster University in 2014 and also holds a Master of Science in Pharmacology and Toxicology from the University of Toronto, where she studied the role of long non-coding RNA in aortic aneurysm formation.
Her current research at the Cardiovascular Imaging Network at Queen’s (CINQ) involves the use of contrast-enhanced ultrasound to link carotid plaque neovascularization with severity of coronary atherosclerosis and cardiac outcomes.
Atherosclerosis, characterized by fatty deposits (plaque) in the blood vessel wall, is a progressive, silent, and deadly disease. It is the primary cause of heart attacks and strokes, costing Canadians $20.9 billion each year. Early detection of atherosclerosis is essential in order to relieve its enormous societal burden. Atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries, known as coronary artery disease (CAD), is currently diagnosed using a procedure known as an angiogram, which enables visualization of these arteries. However, its invasive and costly nature prohibits its use as a routine screening tool. Ultrasound is an inexpensive, radiation- and pain-free method to monitor the progression of atherosclerosis.
Her objective is to use a safe, non-radioactive contrast agent to enhance ultrasound images of the carotid (neck) arteries and determine if this can predict angiographically diagnosed CAD. This novel approach to plaque assessment has the potential to become an important tool for the early detection of heart disease.
The Frederick Banting and Charles Best CGS – Doctoral Awards administered by CIHR are intended to provide special recognition and support to students who are pursuing a doctoral degree in a health related field in Canada.
Congratulations Laura on this tremendous achievement.