Explore UAB

News & Events
Written by Brian C. Moon - May 13, 2024
In an era where medical science is keenly focused on personalized medicine, understanding how diseases affect diverse populations is crucial. CCTS Associate Scientist, Dr. Pankaj Arora and the Arora Translational Lab are at the forefront of such precision medicine efforts with their groundbreaking NAUTICAL trial. clinicaltrials MediumArora Translational Lab Director, Dr. Pankaj Arora, MD, FAHAThis study focuses on the role of natriuretic peptides (NPs)—key hormones produced by the heart—in Black individuals. Considering that Black individuals typically have lower NP levels compared to their White counterparts, the NAUTICAL trial aims to examine the role of NP augmentation in improving cardiometabolic health in Black individuals. Known to have a higher burden of cardiometabolic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, insights from the NAUTICAL trial may permit the development of precision medicine approaches to reduce the burden of cardiometabolic diseases in these individuals.

More About the Study

NPs play a significant role in regulating blood pressure, lipid metabolism, and glucose levels. Dr. Arora and his team have conducted multiple studies that have shown that Black adults have 20-30% lower NP levels than White adults, a difference that manifests as early as childhood. By exploring the determinants of low NP levels and the physiological mechanisms through which low NP levels lead to disease, Dr. Arora aims to develop tailored therapeutic strategies to alleviate these health disparities.

NAUTICAL Study Coordinators (L to R)
Haley Evans, Ezinne Tiffany George, Nehal Vekariya, Alexandra Kloss
The NAUTICAL trial represents a precision medicine effort to reduce health disparities and is unique in its commitment to exclusively recruit healthy Black individuals to assess the role of NP augmentation in improving cardiometabolic health. The study, led by Clinical Research Coordinator Haley Evans and her team, not only aims to enroll 200 participants but also actively engages the community through educational programs and health screenings. This trial stands as a beacon of how clinical research can embrace community participation to tackle underrepresentation in medical studies. Such efforts are crucial for recognizing the need to individualize therapy based on an individual’s profile and developing treatment strategies that will yield the maximum benefit.

Celebrating Participant Contributions

A key highlight of the NAUTICAL study is the invaluable contributions of its participants, who bring these research goals to fruition. Ms. Dominique Carnes, a participant in the NAUTICAL study, shares her motivation and experiences:
Carnes photo"I decided to participate in research because the human contribution to science will benefit both us and generations after us." - Dominique Carnes, study participant. What made you want to participate in research?
I decided to participate in research because the human contribution to science will benefit both us and generations after us. Medicine is an ever-evolving field, so the more research that is conducted, the better outcomes we will receive as we learn the best practices.

What about the NAUTICAL study made you excited to participate?
In the African-American community, hypertension is a major issue. This study required both healthy volunteers as well as those with high blood pressure, so everyone was represented. I was excited to participate because this study focused specifically on African Americans when we typically get overlooked.

Describe your experience while in the study.
This study was very simple. All of my visits were located on campus, so I did not have to commute very far. The nurses at the Clinical Research Unit and study coordinators were very knowledgeable, took the time to explain the purpose of the study, and were willing to answer any questions that I had. They compensated the volunteers after each visit, so It was nice to receive a chunk of change every once in a while for little effort.

What would you want to tell your community about participating in research studies?
I encourage my community to participate in research because every medication or vaccine may work differently between races. By participating in research, it may help healthcare professionals discover medications that may be more beneficial (or potentially) harmful to our race, so representation truly matters!
The NAUTICAL study exemplifies the power of inclusive research and the significant impact of participant contributions. By celebrating and valuing each participant’s role, the study not only advances medical science but also ensures that the development of healthcare solutions is comprehensive and inclusive. This approach fosters a greater understanding of diseases and their treatments across different populations, ultimately leading to better health outcomes and reduced disparities. If you are interested to know more about the NAUTICAL study, please email the study team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..