Feinstein Investigators Awarded $2.8M to Study Vascular Injury After Radiation Exposure

Weng-Lang Yang, PhD

Feinstein Institute for Medical Research investigators Weng-Lang Yang, PhD, and Ping Wang, MD, have been awarded a five-year, $2.8 million U01 grant from the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to investigate the use of the human hormone ghrelin to reduce organ injury after exposure to high amounts of radiation.

“While nuclear power plant accidents and dirty bomb attacks do not usually happen, there is still an unmet need to better understand the cause of radiation injury and develop a treatment strategy if we face such disasters,” said Dr. Yang, who is an associate professor at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and associate professor of surgery at the Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine.

“We are grateful for the support from the NIH. This grant is extended from our early discovery on the protective effect of human ghrelin against radiation exposure in an animal model.” said Dr. Wang, chief scientific officer and professor at the Feinstein Institute.  

Exposure to a high dose of ionizing radiation can cause acute radiation syndrome with severe and widespread organ damage, but also result in long-lasting injury to the body even after recovery. Blood vessel injury plays a key component in this damage process. Drs. Yang and Wang’s study, “Mechanisms of Radiation-induced Vascular Endothelial Cell Injury and its Correction,” attempts to understand how the human hormone ghrelin reduces damage to blood vessels and the death of endothelial or blood vessel cells after radiation exposure.  Results from this grant will shed some light on the mechanisms involved in vascular damage and lead to the development of human hormone ghrelin as a treatment for radiation injury.

“This extraordinary support from NIH is an important acknowledgement of Drs. Yang and Wang’s innovative and scholarly research addressing the serious problem of radiation damage,” said Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institute.



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The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is the research arm of Northwell Health, the largest healthcare provider in New York. Home to 50 research laboratories and to clinical research throughout dozens of hospitals and outpatient facilities, the Feinstein includes 4,000  researchers and staff who are making breakthroughs in molecular medicine, genetics, oncology, brain research, mental health, autoimmunity, and bioelectronic medicine – a new field of science that has the potential to revolutionize medicine. For more information about how we empower imagination and pioneer discovery, visit FeinsteinInstitute.org

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The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is the research branch of the Northwell Health enterprise and is headquartered in Manhasset, NY. The Institute is composed of more than 1,500 clinicians, scientists and staff who work in laboratories and clinical research programs in collaboration with clinicians and patients throughout the many facilities of Northwell Health. Every year, more than 15,000 patients and volunteers participate in over 2,000 research studies.