Current Environment:

Our Research

Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, posing an immense burden on global health. A significant roadblock to effective cardiac disease treatment lies in the limited capacity of the adult heart to regenerate. In contrast, the newborn mouse heart can effectively regrow the damaged tissue. Our lab aims to use systems-level approaches to discover the basic biological mechanisms underlying neonatal heart regeneration. We leverage this information to identify therapeutic targets and translate these findings into studies of human cells and therapies for heart disease patients. We uncovered previously unknown cellular components specific to neonatal heart regeneration, filling gaps in our knowledge of new heart muscle cell sources during regeneration and advancing our understanding of the role of the cardiac microenvironment in tissue healing. We are currently exploring these novel cell populations, which we believe have the potential to open up new areas of research in regeneration and beyond. We are also taking systems biology approaches to identify factors and pathways that regulate various aspects of the regeneration process and using gene delivery approaches to explore their therapeutic potential for treating heart disease. Our research combines genetics, single-cell and spatial transcriptomics, tissue 3D imaging, high-throughput screening in primary cardiac cells, and cardiac (patho)physiology. The long-term goal of our research program is to understand the mechanisms underlying the distinct reparative abilities of different cardiac cell types during neonatal heart regeneration vs. pathological remodeling in adults, and ultimately to generate a comprehensive cellular and molecular blueprint for targeting cardiac regeneration in adult humans.