Creative Research Medal 2015
Shiyou Chen, associate professor of physiology and pharmacology, has made numerous important contributions to our understanding of smooth muscle development, which is important for both cardiovascular development and the onset of several major cardiovascular diseases. Chen developed two powerful cell model systems that have been very useful to study the molecular mechanisms controlling smooth muscle development. These two models allow scientists to identify the fundamental regulatory mechanisms governing the different functional properties of vascular smooth muscle cells and how diversity in these cells may contribute to the onset of cardiovascular diseases. His other works have identified several molecular targets useful for the development of new drug-eluting stents, which are coated with medicine that prevents scar tissue from growing into the artery. Chen’s discoveries will allow the development of new drugs to regulate the proliferation of smooth muscle and endothelial cells, and could also lead to new coatings on stents that reduce blood clot risk.