The research vision for The Cardiovascular Innovation and Research Center is a dynamic process and will be developed and implemented by the Center and faculty. This broad vision will encompass basic research and development of new technologies focused on the treatment of cardiovascular disease.
The breadth of this vision will allow the flexibility to recruit the most outstanding faculty in the cardiovascular field, as well as allow the Center’s research activity to move quickly into new areas while remaining focused in the cardiovascular system. Potential areas of expertise and focus will include, but are not limited to:
- Regenerative and degenerative cardiovascular medicine (including tissue engineering and stem cell biology)
- In vitro and in silico models of cardiac development and function
- Immuno-engineering in cardiovascular health
- Non-invasive (wireless) cardiovascular monitoring, intervention, and imaging
- Cardiopulmonary health
The engineering expertise that will be applied to these areas include Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS), nanotechnology, biophotonics, biomaterials, systems biology, and computation/modeling.
Naomi Chesler Lab, Engineering cardiopulmonary health. Right ventricular failure (RVF) is understudied compared to left ventricular failure (LVF) but worsens morbidity and mortality from LVF and also displays intriguing and poorly understood sex dependence. The CheslerLab strives to better understand and prevent RVF by focusing on three aspects of cardiopulmonary physiology and pathophysiology: right ventricular function, pulmonary vascular blood flow dynamics, and how changes in the large and small pulmonary arteries alter blood flow dynamics and thus right ventricular function. We also seek to understand sex differences in incidence and progression of RVF. The CheslerLab combines clinical, preclinical, in vitro, and in silico approaches to achieve these aims.
Elliot Botvinick Lab, Bioengineering advanced monitoring. There is a wealth of available biomarkers that can be found just under the skin. The Botvinick lab is seeking new vital biomarkers not yet accessible in the standard-of-care. These biomarkers can provide real-time diagnostics, guide medical interventions, and impower patients to manage their own health. The lab uses unique chemistries and biophotonics to push the limits of what can be measured and transform health care. Further the lab develops and uses photonic tools to understand the biophysics of cell-cell communication within the tissue
Anna Grosberg Lab, Cardiovascular modeling. The Grosberg lab is focused on developing in vitro and in silico models of cardiac development and function at the cellular, tissue, and organ level. Their main strategic thrust is to merge modeling and experimental methods to understand the impact of structure and dynamics on the functional characteristics of muscle tissue. Applications range from stem cell derived heart tissue through understanding effects of inheritable genetic disorders on the heart’s ability to generate pressure.
Timothy Downing’s lab is harnessing the power of genomics to build a systems-level view of how genes are regulated within stem cells and other cell types of the heart, blood, and brain to improve how biomedical engineers target genes for cellular therapy. The lab also investigates how mechanisms of gene regulation are altered during aging and within the context of disease with the hope of finding new molecular targets for therapeutic intervention.
Wendy Liu Lab, Immuno-engineering in cardiovascular health. The Liu Laboratory is developing new ways to leverage the immune system for repair and regeneration of cardiovascular tissues. Our studies focus on understanding how biophysical and biochemical cues modulate the function of macrophages, innate immune cells that are critical for healing of the heart after heart attack, as well as progression of cardiovascular disease. In addition, we are building novel in vitro platforms to investigate how immune cell interactions with resident cells of the heart and blood vessels contribute to cardiovascular remodeling and disease progression.
Pim Oomen Lab, Models of heart growth and remodeling . The heart has the intriguing capacity to grow and remodel in response to both diseases and clinical therapies. The outcome of growth and remodeling is determined by a complicated interplay between mechanics, (electro)physiology and neurohormonal signaling. We develop multiscale computational and experimental models to increase our understanding of these processes and to improve and design patient-specific clinical therapies.
Chris Hughes Lab, Vascular Bioengineering. The Hughes Laboratory focuses on the development and growth of blood vessels. The work in his lab spans multiple scales – from understanding the basic molecular mechanisms of angiogenesis (the growth of new blood vessels), to engineering of artificial tissues. Recently his lab has been pioneering “Body-on-Chip” technology, which allows for micro-organs – heart, pancreas, tumor, etc. – to be grown on a “chip”, each with its own blood vessel network. These “Vascularized Micro-Organ” and “Vascularized Micro-Tumor” devices are gaining use as screening tools for new therapeutic drugs.
Zhongping Chen, Medical Imaging. Dr. Chen lab is known for Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), which is the frontier of the medical imaging field. It is non- to minimally-invasive and non-ionizing, revealing tissue substructural morphology in safe manners. Dr. Chen is a renowned scholar in biophotonics, and he and his research group are particularly interested in obtaining functional information using optical techniques. Prof. Chen pioneered Optical Doppler Tomography (ODT), which allows motion quantification and analysis in vivo. ODT is one of the main focuses of his group. In addition, using Optical Coherence Elastography (OCE), his researchers also study the mechanical properties of tissues.