Dr. Maeda’s research projects are focused on understanding gene-gene and gene-environment interactions in complex human diseases, such as atherosclerosis, hypertension and diabetes. To better understand the involvement of hypercholesterolemiain atherogenesis, she has been generating mice carrying mutations in the genes involved in lipid metabolism using homologous recombination in embryonic stem cells. These mutations include polymorphic variations in the human genome that may have only small effects by themselves, but have large impacts on vascular diseases when combined with other risk factors. One of the mutant strains generated by Dr. Maeda in 1992, apoE-deficient mice, develops very high cholesterol and atherosclerotic lesions like those found in humans. Using the apoE-deficient mice, her laboratory has been studying how genetic factors (such as those involved in blood pressure regulations, inflammations and glucose metabolism) and dietary factors (such as fat and antioxidant vitamins) influence the progression of atherosclerotic lesion development. Dr. Maeda was the recipient of the prestigious Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) Award from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in 1998.