Left ventricle cardiomyocytes: their emergence, identity and maturation
Dr Andreia Bernardo
The Francis Crick Institute
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in industrialised countries and myocardial infarction (MI) is the most common cause of heart injury. MI involves a dramatic loss of contractile heart muscle cells (cardiomyocytes), particularly in the left ventricle. This can lead to post-infarction heart failure. Conventional medication to treat MI preserves function rather than replacing or regenerating lost cardiomyocytes.
I will use heart tissue from mice and human embryos, human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) and bioinformatics to study how left ventricle cardiomyocytes form in the developing embryo. The project will build on my preliminary data, which identified enriched genes in the left ventricle in developing mouse hearts. I will identify the genes and signalling molecules that promote the formation of left ventricle cardiomyocytes.
My research may allow us to generate left ventricle cardiomyocytes from hPSCs to treat people who have had an MI.