Principal Research Interests

  • Preclinical Cardiac Xenotransplantation – After 12 years we have developed the leading such program focusing on genetic engineering of donor animals (pigs), preclinical heart transplantation (transgenic pig-to-baboon), and understanding the immunological mechanisms of delayed xenograft rejection.
  • The development of pigs for cardiac xenotransplantation provides for a new base material (Gal knockouts) for producing a new generation of tissue heart valves, blood vessels, and other tissues for future clinical development based on the absence of the Gal antigen to which all humans have preformed antibodies.
  • Gene therapy. Efficient durable viral vector transduction of the transplanted heart has been elusive. Over the last seven years we have explored the use of a number of vectors, delivery techniques and non-invasive measures of cardiac gene expression (imaging and serum) with recent success using an adeno-associated virus serotype 9 vector and sodium iodide symporter as a reporter gene.