Atherosclerosis Research Unit

Atherosclerosis Research Unit

The Atherosclerosis Research Unit (ARU) serves as the center of the Keck School's broad research efforts into the dynamics of atherosclerosis, the thickening and narrowing of the arteries that significantly increases an individual's risk of heart attack and stroke.

The Unit brings together physicians and scientists from the departments of medicine, pathology, surgery and obstetrics and gynecology-along with scientists from the USC School of Pharmacy and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory-in active collaborative studies to better understand, diagnose, treat and prevent atherosclerosis.



With major funding from the National Institutes of Health, ARU research focuses on two main areas:

  • Atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease prevention and intervention.
  • The development and application of non-invasive imaging technologies to study the assessment, screening, prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis.

ARU researchers were among the first to provide evidence that lowering blood cholesterol can unclog arteries narrowed by atherosclerosis. ARU work has also revealed that taking estrogen appears to reverse thickening in the arteries of healthy, postmenopausal women. Vitamin E and B studies are underway.

In addition, ARU researchers have developed an imaging technology called IMT, which uses ultrasound technology to take non-invasive measurements of arterial disease progression, which the team has correlated with cardiovascular risk.

University of Southern California University of Southern California