We are studying human heart development and disease with the overarching goal to develop new therapies to treat cardiovascular disease. To this end, we employ a variety of experimental approaches ranging from cell biology to molecular genetics, genomics, and electrophysiology, in our favourite model system: human pluripotent stem cells.
Our current research focuses on cardiac pacemaker cells that regulate the heartbeat. More specifically, we are establishing developmental biology-based approaches for the differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells into the sinoatrial node and atrioventricular node pacemaker cells. In these projects, we are gaining new insights into the development of the pacemaker cells of the human heart. In addition, we are applying our ability to generate pacemaker cells to patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells to establish in vitro models of pacemaker diseases, such as congenital heart block. These studies aim at exploring disease mechanisms and identifying potential drug treatment targets.
Our lab also explores the application of the stem cell-derived pacemaker populations in cell therapy approaches to treat heart rhythm disorders. To this end, we are using electrophysiology assays to test the ability of the pacemaker cells to function as a biological pacemaker in vitro and in vivo in small and large pre-clinical animal models.
- MGY460 Genetic Analysis Of Development
- McEwen Stem Cell Institute, University Health Network
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