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2011 James B Skatrud New Investigator Award Winner

Luciano Drager, MD

Luciano Drager, MD

Dr Drager graduated from Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil. He finished Internal Medicine residency at Hospital das Clínicas, University of São Paulo in 2001 and completed the fellowship in Cardiology at the Heart Institute (InCor), University of São Paulo in 2003. From 2003 to 2007, he performed his PhD at the Heart Institute (InCor), exploring the sleep-related changes in hemodynamic and autonomic regulation in patients with hypertension. Since December 2003, Dr. Drager has been an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Heart Institute (InCor), University of São Paulo Medical School. Dr. Drager is board certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiology and Sleep Medicine (the first Cardiologist in Brazil to receive this Certification).

Since 2003, he has focused his research on mechanisms by which obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) promotes cardiovascular events such as myocardial infarction and stroke. Under the supervision of Prof. Geraldo Lorenzi- Filho, he has conducted a number of clinical studies evaluating the effects of OSA and its treatment on markers of atherosclerosis, vascular function and blood pressure. In his two landmark studies published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine in 2005 and 2007, Dr. Drager has shown that patients with OSA develop premature atherosclerosis and increased vascular stiffness that were partially reversible by OSA treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Each of these landmark studies has been cited more than 100 times.

On 2009, Dr. Drager started his postdoctoral training at Johns Hopkins University under the supervision of Prof. Vsevolod Y. Polotsky. Dr. Drager was involved in an ambitious novel project elucidating the effects of intermittent hypoxia on lipoprotein clearance, which is an unexplored, but potentially important mechanism of atherogenesis in intermittent hypoxia. Results from the experiments showed that chronic intermittent hypoxia decreased the clearance of triglyceride-rich lipoprotein inhibiting the lipoprotein lipase activity in the adipose tissue. Given his research credentials, he has been promoted to a Visiting Scientist position in 2010. Dr. Drager published more than 50 papers in prestigious peer reviewed journals. His research has been funded by the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) and Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP). Combining his expertise in clinical studies with basic research experience, Dr. Drager is embarking on a new translational program exploring the magnitude, progression, and reversibility of atherosclerosis and vascular dysfunction in patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Dr Drager states that receiving the James B Skatrud New Investigator Award is a great honour and a motivation to continue his research in this exciting research field.