Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics

Wissam AbouAlaiwi, M.Sc., PhD. Fellow of the American Heart Association (FAHA)

Photo of Dr. Wissam AbouAlaiwi
  Professor

  Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
  Frederic and Mary Wolfe Center 282E
  Phone: 419.383.1949
  E-mail: wissam.aboualaiwi@utoledo.edu

 

Area of Research

Kidney and cardiovascular pharmacology with a focus on the role of primary cilia in hypertension and Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) in an effort to develop strategies for disease therapeutics. 

Educational Background

Ph.D. in Biology with outstanding achievement University of Toledo, 2007
M.S. in Biology American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon, 2002
M.S. in Biology (degree equivalent to U.S. M.S. in Biology & Teaching Diploma of Biology & Chemistry at secondary school level) Lebanese University, Beirut, Lebanon, 2000
T.S. in Medical Laboratory Technology Institute of Medical Laboratory Technology, Beirut, Lebanon 1996

Training

2007-2012 Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Department of Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Toledo, Toledo, OH.

Scope of Practice

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD), affecting 1 in 500 individuals, is the most commonly occurring genetic disease arising from dysfunction of primary cilia (ciliopathy) due to mutations in Pkd1/2 genes encoding for polycystin-1 (PC1) and -2 (PC2), respectively. Although PKD is a systemic disease hallmarked by fluid-filled kidney cysts, cardiovascular complications are the leading cause of death among PKD patients. PKD patients are more likely to develop hypertension and congestive heart failure. A primary cilium is a mechanosensory organelle that extends from the apical membrane of a cell to the lumen of blood vessels and kidney tubules. We and others have independently studied abnormality in primary cilia, cell proliferation and polyploidy in the vascular and renal systems in PKD. We propose cilia as a fluid sensory organelle required for sensing fluid shear stress within the cardiovascular and renal systems.

Awards, Honors and Grants

Ongoing Research Support

  1. NIH/NHLBI $378,984_AbouAlaiwi (PI)
    AREA/R15 _Award # R15HL140523 01/01/2018-12/31/2020
    Title: “Primary cilia dysfunction and cardiovascular complications in Polycystic Kidney Disease”
    The major goal of this project is to study the role of primary cilia in cardiovascular complications in Polycystic Kidney Disease with a major focus on the role of primary cilia in hypertension.
  2. American Heart Association (AHA) Hannah Saternos $54,000_AbouAlaiwi (Mentor)
    Predoctoral Fellowship Award #19PRE34430055 01/01/2019-12/31/2020
    Title: “Role of ciliary muscarinic acetylcholine receptor 3 in hypertension in Polycystic Kidney Disease”.
    The major goal of this project is to study the role of ciliary muscarinic acetylcholine receptor 3 in cardiovascular complications in Polycystic Kidney Disease with a major focus on hypertension.
  3. National Science Foundation (NSF) $545,650_AbouAlaiwi_MajorUser
    Major Research Instrumentation Program (MRI) 08/01/2019-07/31/2022
    “ThermoFisher Talos L120C G2 transmission electron microscope (TEM)”.
  4. NIH/NIA $153,500_AbouAlaiwi (PI)
    AREA/R15 _Research Supplement Award # 3R15HL140523-01S1 09/09/2019-12/31/2020
    Title: “Muscarinic receptors signaling interplay between Alzheimer's disease and hypertension”
    The major goal of this project is to study the role of primary cilia in cerebrovascular complications in Alzheimer’s disease and related Dementia.
  5. University of Toledo Office of Undergraduate Research’s $1,500.00_AbouAlaiwi (Mentor)
    Annual Year Research Program 01/21/2020-05/08/2020
    Title: “Role of Muscarinic Receptors in Cilia Function Associated with High Blood Pressure in Polycystic Kidney Disease”.
    The major goal of this project is to study the role of muscarinic receptor modulators on primary endothelial cilia structure and function.
  6. University of Toledo Office of Undergraduate Research’s $1,500.00_AbouAlaiwi (Mentor)
    Annual Year Research Program 01/21/2020-05/08/2020
    Title: “Role of Muscarinic Receptors in Cilia Function Associated with High Blood Pressure in Polycystic Kidney Disease”.
  7. NIH/NHLBI $34,212_AbouAlaiwi (PI) 03/15/2020-11/30/2020
    AREA/R15 Research Supplement Award # 3R15HL140523-01S2
    Title: “Effect of muscarinic receptor agonist on cilia sensory function and structure”
  8. NIH/NHLBI $34,232_AbouAlaiwi (PI) 05/01/2020-12/30/2020
    AREA/R15 Research Supplement Award # 3R15HL140523-01S3
    Title: “Role of muscarinic receptor antagonist in primary cilia structure”
  9. American Foundation of Pharmaceutical Education (AFPE) $5,000_AbouAlaiwi (Mentor) AFPE Gateway to Research Award 06/30/2020-06/30/2021
    Title: “Primary endothelial cilia in hypertension as a regulator of nitric oxide synthesis”
  10. University of Toledo URFO $25,000.00_AbouAlaiwi (PI) 05/01/2021-06/30/2022
    deArce-Koch Memorial Endowment Fund
    Title: “Role of brain vascular primary cilia in the pathogenesis of hypertension and Alzheimer's disease.”

Closed Research Support

  1. American Heart Association (AHA) $231,000_AbouAlaiwi (PI)
    Scientist Development Grant (SDG) Award #16SDG31330001 07/01/2016-06/30/2019
    Title: “Role of myocyte primary cilia in cardiovascular disease”.
    The overall objective of the proposed studies is to provide novel information on physiology of ciliary
    CaV1.2 in the cardiomyocyte and heart function.
  2. American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy $10,000_AbouAlaiwi (PI)
    (AACP) New Investigator Award. 01/01/2016-12/31/2016
    Title: “Role of Primary Cilia in Cardiomyocyte Contraction”.
    The major goal of this project is to study the role of primary cilia in calcium influx and myocyte contraction.
  3. American Heart Association (AHA) AbouAlaiwi (Mentor) $2,000_Hannah Saternos_(PI)
    Student Scholarship in cardiovascular disease 09/01/2016-08/31/2017
    Title: “Cilia muscarinic receptors as therapeutic targets for hypertension
    The major goal of this project is to provide research experience and training for Graduate and Undergraduate students.
  4. University of Toledo Office of Undergraduate Research’s $1,500.00_AbouAlaiwi (Mentor)
    Annual Year Research Program 08/26/2019-12/31/2019
    Title: “Role of Muscarinic Receptors in Cilia Structure and Function associated with Polycystic Kidney Disease”.
    The major goal of this project is to study the role of muscarinic receptor modulators on primary endothelial cilia structure and function.

Honors/Professional Societies and Awards

  1. 2016 Symposium on Chronic Kidney Disease in Children (CKiD) Study, and the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) Study Travel Award.
  2. 2016 American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) New Investigator Award (NIA).
  3. 2016 American Heart Association National Scientist Development Grant Award.
  4. 2017 American Heart Association Council on Hypertension Trainee Advocacy Committee (TAC).
  5. 2017 American Heart Association National Mentor_Mentee Program Award.
  6. 2017 Member of the Alpha Chapter of the Sigma Phi Sigma Society at the University of Toledo College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
  7. 2017 American Heart Association Research Leaders Academy.
  8. 2017 Department of Defense Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program, Preapplication - Urologic Disorders, PRE-UD.
  9. 2017 Fellow of the American Heart Association (FAHA).
  10. 2018 National Institute of Health (NIH)/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA/R15).
  11. 2018 American Heart Association Research Leaders Academy.
  12. 2018 American Heart Association Council on the Kidney in Cardiovascular Disease (KCVD) New Investigator Travel Award.
  13. 2019 American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET)

Publications and Journals

UToledo Scholars

Read About Dr. AbouAlaiwi's Work in UTNews.

Last Updated: 6/27/22