Dr. Marlene Grenon was born in Quebec, Canada. She obtained a diploma in space sciences from the International Space University (ISU) in 1998. She graduated from McGill Medical School in 2000 and obtained a Masters' degree from the Scholars in Clinical Science Program of Harvard Medical School along with a post-doctoral fellowship in cardiovascular space medicine and endocrinology from Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2004. She then completed training in cardiac surgery at McGill University in 2007, vascular surgery at the University of British Columbia in 2009 and endovascular surgery at the Arizona Heart Institute in 2010. She is a fellow from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) and maintains a Certificate of Specialist in both cardiac and vascular surgery from RCPSC.
Dr. Grenon is presently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery at UCSF, a Staff surgeon at the VAMC San Francisco and an Adjunct Faculty at the International Space University. She is a member of many professional organizations and has been an invited lecturer at several regional, national and international meetings and conferences. She is the recipient of several awards for research and was one of the finalists in the 2009 Canadian Astronaut selection.
My current research program encompasses two areas:
It is well known that lifestyle issues including nutrition, physical activity, and stress have a high impact on disease development and readaptation in patients with cardiovascular disease. The evidence for how nutrition, physical activity, and stress affect patients with PAD is less clear. In my research program, we are conducting different clinical studies on how these factors impact PAD.
For example, in one study,"OMEGA-PAD", we are investigating the effects of omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) in patients with PAD, looking more specifically at endothelial function and inflammation. In another study, the "OMEGA-Bedrest" study we are investigating the effects of physical inactivity on endothelial function, insulin resistance and inflammation, and are also testing a countermeasure (fish oil) for physical inactivity.
These clinical trials parallel research projects in my basic science laboratory studying how fatty acids influence the interactions between monocytes and endothelial cells, two cell lines critical to the development of atherosclerosis. We hope that these studies will help us understand how factors present in everyday life can impact the development of atherosclerotic disease in the lower extremities and how we can target specific therapies or lifestyle modification programs to help with this disease.
What happens during spaceflight is not too different than when people lack physical exercise: the cardiovascular system becomes deconditioned. This part of my research program aims to draw parallels between what we can learn from astronauts flying in space and cardiovascular diseases on earth. Hence, we are conducting studies simulating the effects of microgravity on earth, specifically at the level of the organ ("physiological") and at the level of the cells ("cellular").
The world may be on the brink of a vast new frontier of tourism - and that could raise a few odd, and at this point unanswerable, questions for doctors. Space tourism is on the cusp of becoming a real possibility for people who don't have the health and fitness of a NASA astronaut, and aerospace medicine experts including Dr. Marlene Grenon, M.D., C.M., of the UCSF Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, believe that now is the time to think about medical guidelines. There's a wealth of information about the effects of space travel on government astronauts - from the symptoms of space sickness to the long-term repercussions of lengthy stays at the International Space Station. But the effects on the average person with imperfect health are unknown. In a paper published in the British Medical Journal, Dr. Grenon and colleagues provide background in the field of space medicine for non-experts and clinicians.
People with depression may have a higher risk of peripheral artery disease (PAD) -- narrowing of the arteries in the legs and pelvis -- according to researchers at UCSF, led by Marlene Grenon, M.D., C.M., of the UCSF Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, and colleagues, including Jade S. Hiramoto, M.D., another UCSF vascular surgeon. The study included 1,024 men and women with coronary artery disease. At the recent American Heart Association's Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology scientific sessions, Dr. Grenon said the study demonstrated the importance of depression screening and treatment patients with PAD. The full findings are published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.