June NORC Affiliate Investigator Spotlight: Rozenn Lemaitre, PhD, MPH
I am a Research Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, Adjunct Research Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and a member of the Cardiovascular Health Research Unit (CHRU) at the University of Washington.
I am a molecular epidemiologist and broadly interested in lipidomics research to uncover new modifiable targets to prevent cardiovascular diseases in human populations. My research group primarily focuses on studies of heart failure, atrial fibrillation, sudden cardiac arrest, and type 2 diabetes and its complications, especially among minorities where the burden of diabetes is very high.
An area of research we are actively involved in is the study of sphingolipids. In collaboration with Andy Hoofnagle, UW NORC Analytic Core-Director, our group received several R01s to examine the associations of circulating ceramide and sphingomyelin species in the Cardiac Arrest Blood Study, a repository of sudden cardiac arrest patients in King County, and in three NHLBI cohorts, the Strong Heart Family Study (a cohort of American Indians), the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), and the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS), a cohort of older adults. The sphingolipid data that were obtained in these large prospective studies are extensively used, not only with the study outcomes (heart failure, atrial fibrillation, SCA, subclinical disease, diabetes, etc.) but also with ancillary outcomes, such as kidney disease, lung function and aging phenotypes. In addition to the sphingolipid-disease associations, we are investigating nutritional and lifestyle factors that might be related to change over time in sphingolipid levels. Furthermore, these epidemiology investigations are complemented by in vitro experiments in human cardiomyocytes, conducted by Rheem Totah, Professor Medicinal Chemistry, to discover pathways affected by the sphingolipids.
Also in collaboration with Rheem Totah, we have received R01s to examine circulating EETs (fatty acid epoxides) and H2S (a gasotransmitter) with risks of diabetes and diabetes-associated CVD in the Strong Heart and CHS cohorts; together with in vitro experiments to uncover pathways affected by these metabolites and the presence of diabetes.
We are also involved in fatty acid research as part of multi-cohort collaboration, in particular in the Fatty acid and Outcome Research Consortium (FORCE). Circulating fatty acids are affected by both diet and metabolism and we are interested in potential interactions with genetic factors that may play a role in precision nutrition.
I received support from the UW NORC Analytic Core where sphingolipids were quantitated on ~20,000 study samples from my grants using the targeted mass-spectrometry assays on ceramides and sphingomyelins developed by Andy Hoofnagle.
To learn more about Dr. Lemaitre’s research publications, click here