Funded Research

Translational Cardiovascular Tissue Core
Principal Investigator(s):
  • Congenital Heart Disease Center
Award Mechanism:
Core Large Initiative
Project Period:
7/1/2011 - 6/30/2015
Total Amount:
Kathryn Yamada, Beth Kozel, Pirooz Eghtesady, Charles Canter, Igor R. Efimov
More than 35,000 children are born with congenital heart defects each year in the U.S. alone, and is a leading cause of death in newborns. Congenital heart defects also increase risk of long-term cardiovascular problems, including arrhythmias, pulmonary hypertension and heart failure. However, the genetic and molecular mechanisms involved in most congenital heart and vascular defects remain poorly understood. To address the pressing need for in depth analysis of diseased neonatal and immature human hearts and the genes involved, the Translational Cardiovascular Tissue Core (TCTC) will serve as a centralized facility in the Children’s Discovery Institute (CDI) for the acquisition, utilization, and storage of pediatric cardiovascular tissues. Dr. Jeanne Nerbonne, an expert in the molecular basis of heart failure, directs the core. Collaborators include Dr. Charles Canter in Pediatric Cardiology and Medical Director of the Pediatric Heart Transplant Program, Dr. Pirooz Eghtesady, Chief of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery and Co-Director of the Heart Center, and the Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) Facility in the Department of Genetics. Aims: - Establish a centralized system for acquiring, processing, storing and distributing pediatric heart tissues and cells for investigation and to integrate this with other clinical and translational research programs at WUSTL. - Establish a similar repository for the study of pediatric vascular tissue samples. - Isolate patient-specific fibroblasts for whole genome sequencing and functional studies on induced pluripotent stem cell (IPS cell) –derived cardiac and vascular smooth muscle cells. Potential Impact: The unique resources provided by TCTC will facilitate discovery into genetic and epigenetic mechanisms underlying congenital heart and vascular defects. The TCTC will also enable, for the first time, detailed physiological and molecular analyses of pediatric cardiovascular tissues. Experimental data will be integrated with clinical information in an accessible database, enabling collaborative efforts among basic, translational and clinical researchers to facilitate the timely application of novel research findings to the clinic.