Our group focuses on cardiovascular regeneration using bioengineered stem cells to improve our ability to discover, diagnose, and ultimately treat mechanisms of degenerative diseases such as cardiomyopathy that weakens the heart muscle and lead to progressive heart failure.
Specifically, our research group starts with skin samples from patients with severe forms of heart disease and generates induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to create a model system for that patient in the laboratory. We examine the differences between samples obtained from patients with heart disease and family members without heart disease to determine the molecular underpinning of a particular disease.
We look to identify better ways to predict the onset and progression of that disease within the cell culture model system in the laboratory without the need for probing the patient beyond the initial tissue collection.
Furthermore, we strive to expand our understanding of the disease in bioengineered cell culture systems with next-generation sequencing platforms that enables innovative collaborations to better define genotype/phenotype associations.
Ultimately, our success as an integrated, multidisciplinary team will advance stem cells beyond scientific discovery to help translate the technology into clinical applications and alleviate the ever-growing burden of degenerative diseases that currently require organ transplantation.
Current projects include:
Dilated cardiomyopathy and the application of iPS cell technology to determine molecular defects in cardiogenesis and cardiac self-renewal pathways as potential determinants of degenerative heart disease.
Hypoplastic left heart syndrome and the application of iPS cell technology to determine molecular defects in developmental pathways that could explain the lack of left ventricular muscle formation as possible etiologies for congenital heart disease.
Mouse model of natural cardiogenesis to produce a "roadmap" for systems developmental biology and engineer stem cell progeny for improved therapeutic applications.
Mechanisms for improved nuclear reprogramming to produce pluripotent stem cells with cardiac differentiation potential devoid of the risk of tumor formation.