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Molecular Pharmacology Highlighted Trainee Author, November 2021

October 18, 2021

Vivek Venu

Vivek Venu is the Molecular Pharmacology Highlighted Trainee Author for the November 2021 issue. He is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine, under the mentorship of Prof. Morley D. Hollenberg.  Dr. Venu earned his Ph.D. in the domain of atherosclerosis, thrombosis, and hypertension under the tutelage of Prof. Giuseppe Danilo Norata and Prof. Alberico Catapano at University of Milan, Italy. The Molecular Pharmacology article that earned his selection as a Highlighted Trainee Author is titled “Metformin Prevents Hyperglycaemia-Associated, Oxidative Stress-Induced Vascular Endothelial Dysfunction: Essential Role For the Orphan Nuclear Receptor, Nr4a1 (Nur77)” and is available at:

Dr. Venu’s current work seeks to understand how an orphan nuclear receptor, NR4A1/Nur77, regulates the function of a commonly known anti-diabetic drug, metformin. He uses in vivo, ex-vivo organ culture and in vitro cell culture strategies using intact vascular tissues and isolated endothelial cells from wild-type and NR4A1-null mice to analyze the actions of metformin and other compounds that interact with NR4A1 on vascular endothelial function.

The anticipated impact of Dr. Venu’s postdoctoral research is that he hopes it will improve our understanding of the role of non-psychoactive cannabinoids and the orphan nuclear receptor, NR4A1, in diabetes, inflammatory disease, fibrosis, and cancer. This area of research is quite complex and equally exciting in terms of the discovery of new mechanisms for the actions of cannabinoids and metformin and the potential therapeutic impact that the discoveries may have.

When not in the lab, Vivek enjoys spending time with his family. He also enjoys hiking, reading, and long drives.



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