Director of Animal Imaging Core
Rangos Research Center
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
530 45th St.
8121 Rangos Reseach Center
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
(1). 3-Dimensional Cardiac Gel Bioreactor: Functioning Cardiomyocyte Differentiation from Muscle Derived Stem Cells.
The ultimate goal of cellular cardiomyoplasty is to replace the damaged myocardial tissue by viable autologous or allogeneic myocardial tissue. Various types of progenitor/stem cells are under investigation as alternative cell sources for functioning cardiomyocyte replacement. My laboratory has recently succeeded functioning cardiomyocyte phenotype induction from rat and human origin skeletal muscle derived stem cells using a 3-dimensional collagen gel bioreactor system. The objective of the project is to develop a novel method to induce functioning and implantable cardiomyocytes from skeletal muscle derived stem cells towards our long-term goal of development of autologous stem cell-derived cardiomyocyte transplantation for congenital and acquired heart diseases.
(2). Cardiovascular Physiology of Developing Embryo/Fetal Cardiovascular System.
The heart is the first functioning organ during the organogenesis period and the developing heart rapidly transforms from a straight tube to a 4-chamber heart. The developing heart can acutely and chronically adapt to changes in preload, afterload, and contractility. Congenital cardiovascular anomalies occur primarily due to the altered genetic program and the cardiovascular (CV) adaptation to the altered hemodynamic loads may also contribute the cause of congenital cardiovascular malformations. I have shown that altered hemodynamic loads on developing myocardium influences embryonic myocardial growth. However, little is known how the altered CV function affects normal trajectory of the developing CV system. The objective of the project is to investigate detailed embryonic CV function using a high-resolution ultrasound biomicroscopy and in vitro myocardial force measurement in normal developing embryos and the embryos with CV malformations using a chick and mouse animal models.
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