Dr. Robert Hegele's recent publications provide a direct link from the lab to patients
Dr. Robert Hegele wears two hats; the first, as a leading researcher into human genetics and its link to cardiovascular disease, and the second, as a physician working directly with patients.
This month, Dr. Hegele’s contributions to two publications in both Nature Reviews and the Lancet on the management of a common condition called hypertriglyceridemia, provide a direct link from his research lab right to his patients.
“These are examples of how I’m working to make concrete translation of my research into direct clinical benefit for my patients at University Hospital,” he said. “I try to guide my research program with an eye to how patient care might be positively impacted.”
The publication in the Lancet is a guidelines paper, first-authored by Dr. Hegele and written in collaboration with 24 international medical experts. It provides an understanding of how genetics impacts disease. “In this case, it’s the risk of developing high blood triglycerides,” he said. “Having this knowledge can simplify the diagnosis, and can lead to appropriate treatment to reduce the risk of life-threatening complications.”
Directly related to these international clinical guidelines, is a wall poster that is being circulated worldwide with the February issue of Nature Reviews. The poster shows the circuit diagram of key metabolic pathways that control cholesterol metabolism. Dr. Hegele says this complicated internal network is now understood because of genetic studies in patients.
“Understanding these mechanisms has helped to develop medications, almost all of which are either in use or under investigation in my clinic at University Hospital,” he said.
Dr. Hegele’s lab has worked for almost 25 years to understand how genes contribute to lipid levels and heart disease risk in patients. These publications integrate this research and his clinical experience and are a direct example of how translational research is achieved at Robarts.
You can download the publications by following the links below: