Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) such as coronary artery disease, heart failure, and stroke remain the number
one cause of death in the U.S. for both men and women. CVDs affect Delawareans at a rate significantly above
the national average. CVDs are largely preventable, and related to risk factors prevalent in the state and region
such as poor diet, obesity, physical inactivity, and other modifiable behaviors. In addition to these risk factors,
increasing age and the presence of other chronic conditions significantly raise the risk for cardiovascular events
and death. These chronic conditions are common in the State of Delaware and indeed the nation.
Ideal cardiovascular health is defined as the absence of clinically manifest CVD, along with optimal levels of
blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose, and body weight. In addition, ideal cardiovascular health is
associated with healthy behaviors such as regular physical activity, lack of smoking, and healthy eating patterns.
It is well established that unhealthy cardiovascular behaviors can result in structural and/or functional vascular
changes, causing target organ impairment and damage. More mechanistic information is needed to combat
CVDs, and novel interventions need to be tested to improve cardiovascular health and overall wellbeing.
The goal of the University of Delaware Center of Biomedical Research Excellence in Cardiovascular Health is to
continue to support multidisciplinary research aimed toward understanding the mechanisms underlying the
causes and consequences of poor cardiovascular health and/or function, and developing effective interventions
for these conditions. In Phase I, the center successfully developed the independent research careers of a cohort
of investigators. We will foster the research careers of four new cardiovascular-focused investigators during
Phase II. These investigators will be supported by a comprehensive mentoring and career development program,
as well as infrastructure through the COBRE Research Core. These core resources along with a pilot program
and new faculty hires will position the center for longer term sustainability.