Heart Regeneration

Novel therapies designed to replace the cardiomyocytes lost following a heart attack represent the holy grail of cardiac regenerative medicine. Remarkably, adult zebrafish achieve near-perfect myocardial regeneration following injury through robust cardiomyocyte proliferation. Our goal is to use our unique genetic tools to reveal critical determinants of cardiomyocyte proliferation in zebrafish as a means to uncover why mammalian cardiomyocytes, including those in the human heart, are so resistant to dividing. 

The following projects are currently underway or available to pursue in our laboratory: 

  • Barriers to Cardiomyocyte Proliferation: We are interested in identifying critical barriers to myocardial proliferation that exist in the mammalian heart. We are currently addressing how differences in cardiomyocyte ploidy affect regenerative capacity. 

  • Epigenetic Control of Heart Regeneration: We have identified epigenetic mechanisms that are required for the zebrafish heart to regenerate. We are interested in further probing our current datasets for novel enhancers that are activated by injury and in pursuing additional histone marks that regulate myocardial proliferation. 

  • Genetic Control of Heart Regeneration: We are interested in pursuing genetic pathways that regulate myocardial proliferation in vivo