News in Brief: UVA Law Remains Atop Rankings; Researchers ID Key Genes

February 1, 2023
Illustration of a stopwatch over a reflection of light at Lambeth

(Photo by Robert Llewellyn)

The University of Virginia School of Law retained its top rating for Best Quality of Life and rose to second in Best Career Prospects in The Princeton Review’s annual law school rankings, released Tuesday.

The Law School also ranked No. 4 in Best Classroom Experience, Best Professors and Best for Federal Clerkships, while coming in at No. 5 in the Toughest to Get Into category.

UVA has been ranked No. 1 in Best Quality of Life for nine years and has been ranked in the top five for Best Classroom Experience since the 2013 rankings.

The rankings list the top 10 law schools in 14 categories based on The Princeton Review’s surveys of 17,000 students attending 168 law schools in the United States, and of administrators at the schools.

UVA Researchers Find Key Genes in Coronary Artery Disease

UVA researchers and their collaborators have identified genes that play key roles in the development of coronary artery disease, the No. 1 cause of death worldwide. 

The findings give scientists promising targets to develop new and better treatments.

“Genetic studies done in more than 1 million people in the last 15 years identified hundreds of locations on our chromosomes that increase the risk of having a heart attack,” said senior researcher Mete Civelek of UVA’s Center for Public Health Genomics and the Department of Biomedical Engineering, a joint program of the School of Medicine and School of Engineering. “We now identified the genes that are responsible for this risk at these locations. We will be able to use these findings as new therapeutic targets.”

Coronary artery disease is the most common form of heart disease. It affects more than 20 million Americans and causes nearly a quarter of deaths in the United States each year. The disease is caused by the buildup of fatty plaques in the walls of the arteries that supply blood to the heart.

“Current drugs that doctors prescribe work to reduce risk factors for heart disease, such as cholesterol-lowering drugs,” Civelek said. “However, we need to identify drugs that target the disease where it develops. That is why it is important to find the genes responsible for the disease development in the arteries, because that is where the plaques form.”

Civelek has created a free, user-friendly website that lets heart researchers review and analyze the new data.

“We expect that our findings will provide a rich catalog of genes for the cardiovascular community to study in years to come,” Civelek said. “And, of course, we hope some of these genes will be targets of a new class of drugs that target the plaque development in the arteries to the benefit of millions of patients.”

The research was supported by the American Heart Association, postdoctoral fellowship 18POST33990046 and Transformational Project Award 19TPA34910021; the National Institutes of Health, grants R21HL135230, R01HL148239 and F31HL156463; the Academy of Finland, grants 287478 and 319324; European Research Council Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme Grant 802825; the Finnish Foundation for Cardiovascular Research; and Transatlantic Network of Excellence Awards 12CVD02 and 18CVD02 from Foundation Leducq, as well as its Junior Investigator Award.

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Mike Mather

Managing Editor University Communications