Awards, Cardiovascular

Corewell Health Research Team Receives $400,000 American Heart Association Grant

Project aims to understand how differences in individuals’ cells impact recovery from disease

August 17, 2023

Grand Rapids, Mich., August 17, 2023 – A Corewell HealthTM research team has been awarded a $400,000 grant by the American Heart Association for its study to better understand how differences in people’s cells impact illness and recovery from a number of cardiovascular diseases.

The project is led by primary investigator Jeremy Prokop, Ph.D., Corewell Health data science advisor, one of only 19 investigators to be awarded the Second Century Implementation Science Award. The research is supported by a team of clinicians and scientists including Maximiliano Tamae Kakazu, M.D., Renzo Loyaga-Rendon, M.D., Ph.D., and Dave Chesla, Corewell Health senior director of research and development.

The Second Century award is designed to be implemented into clinical and community settings to ultimately improve the health of individuals and populations. Corewell Health’s study is entitled “Integrating response genetics into a clinical implementation model” and brings cutting edge lab experiments into strategies for improving outcomes in cardiovascular diseases.

“Some individuals have risk factors for cardiovascular diseases that manifest later in life even though they are coded in the genetic material. Understanding the differences between people and how they respond to traumatic events is critical in understanding these risk factors,” Prokop said. “We will develop tools to understand the differences in how people respond to illness and changes in their bodies.”

The project uses a model system where human cells and data from multiple individuals will provide knowledge of their differences in response to illness. These tools will provide better understanding of how differences in people’s cells impact illness and recovery from heart, lung, kidney, and blood vessel diseases.

“This study uses a holistic approach to understand not only our biology, but also our ever-changing environment and the role that condition or disease-induced stress may play on our epigenetics*, as well as the genetics of future generations,” Chesla said.

“This is the only Second Century grant awarded within the state of Michigan,” said Winni Walsh, development director, American Heart Association. “We are so proud to have this work happening right here in West Michigan.”


About Corewell Health™

People are at the heart of everything we do, and the inspiration for our legacy of outstanding outcomes, innovation, strong community partnerships, philanthropy and transparency. Corewell Health is a not-for-profit health system that provides health care and coverage with an exceptional team of 60,000+ dedicated people—including more than 11,500 physicians and advanced practice providers and more than 15,000 nurses providing care and services in 22 hospitals, 300+ outpatient locations and several post-acute facilities—and Priority Health, a provider-sponsored health plan serving more than 1.3 million members. Through experience and collaboration, we are reimagining a better, more equitable model of health and wellness. For more information, visit


* Epigenetics is the study of how behaviors and environment can cause changes that affect the way genes work. Unlike genetic changes, epigenetic changes are reversible and do not change DNA sequence, but they can change how a body reads a DNA sequence (



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