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2022 Research Study Opportunities Available!

Updated: Jan 31

Patients with Thoracic Aortic Disease. Anyone can contact us and we will determine their eligibility: Call for Volunteers: Current Research Projects in Dr. Siddharth Prakash’s Laboratory at UTHealth in Houston Project 1: Exertional Blood Pressure and Personalized Exercise Prescriptions for Thoracic Aortic Disease Rationale: Patients with aortic aneurysms or dissections are told to limit exertion due to fear of sudden death, but exercise can help to reduce blood pressure and prevent death. Can we develop rational limits based on individual blood pressure responses to exercise? What to expect: (1) You will have to travel to the Texas Medical Center in Houston to participate in this protocol. (2) We will only make noninvasive (no needles) measurements of your aorta and blood pressure. Please plan to wear loose clothes that you can exercise in. (3) The exercise and blood pressure tests will take about 3-4 hours. We will reimburse you for parking. If you can come back, we would like for you to wear the ambulatory blood pressure cuff for 1-2 days and drop it off with us. (4) You have to be able to do low to moderate impact exercises involving your arms, legs and torso. We use light weights (< 15 pounds) and a bicycle. Goals: We will understand how blood pressure responds to exercise differently in patients with aortic disease, measure responses of blood pressure to different types of exercise, and determine the effects of personalized exercise prescriptions on activity, blood pressure and aneurysm enlargement Project 2: Genetic Causes of Bicuspid Aortic Valve disease Rationale: Bicuspid aortic valve, or BAV, is the most common adult congenital heart defect and is genetically determined. We can now identify a causal genetic variant in about half of people with BAV who experience early complications (needing valve surgery or developing an aortic aneurysm). Do specific gene mutations cause recognizable features? What to expect: (1) You do NOT have to travel to Houston to participate. We can mail you an enrollment packet with a survey and consent form. You can fill those out and return them to us. (2) We will collect a sample of your spit (saliva) for genetic testing. The test that we do is for research and is not the same as a genetic test that you can get in your doctor’s office or commercially. (3) We may ask for your help to collect information from your medical records, mainly things like your hospital records from any heart or blood vessel surgeries that you had. (4) We will ask for your permission to contact you about your results or to check in with you to see how you are doing. Goals: We will describe the genetic and clinical features of people with BAV that predict outcomes like valvular degeneration or needing surgery. Contacts: If you have questions about our studies or would like to participate, please contact Siddharth Prakash (Principal Investigator) at 713-500-7003 or Jacqueline Jennings (research coordinator) at 713-500-6704. You can also email us at

Project 3: Role of mosaicism in the penetrance and severity of thoracic aortic disease

Rationale: We hypothesize that two types of common mosaicism, sex chromosome loss and clonal hematopoiesis, can drive the progression of aortic aneurysms and dissections.

Plan: We will perform whole exome sequencing on archival samples of TAD patients. We plan to correlate the type and extent of mosaicism with clinical outcomes like needing surgery, developing a dissection or dying from an aortic event.

Contacts: If you have questions about our studies or would like to participate, please contact Siddharth Prakash (Principal Investigator) at 713-500-7003 or Jacqueline Jennings (research coordinatior) at 713-500-6724.

You can also email us at

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