Center for Cardiovascular Research

Featured Researcher — Brenda Lilly, PhD
Featured Researcher — Brenda Lilly, PhD 150 150 Katie Brind'Amour, PhD, MS, CHES

Brenda Lilly, PhD, a principal investigator in the Center for Cardiovascular Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, examines the interactions between endothelial cells, which line the inside of blood vessels, and smooth muscle cells. Blood vessels play a critical role in a wide variety of diseases. As a basic biologist, Dr. Lilly studies the mechanisms involved…

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Discovering the Genetic Causes of Congenital Heart Defects
Discovering the Genetic Causes of Congenital Heart Defects 1024 575 Lauren Dembeck

By studying the genomes of children and members of their family, researchers have discovered novel disease genes in families impacted by cardiac defects. Congenital heart disease is a leading cause of death in children under one year of age, and evidence supports a strong genetic component underlying this group of common developmental defects. However, historically,…

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Researchers Classify High-Risk Variants in Lamin A/C Cardiac Disease Using Machine Learning
Researchers Classify High-Risk Variants in Lamin A/C Cardiac Disease Using Machine Learning 1024 575 Lauren Dembeck
conceptual art of DNA

A recent study from researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, published in Heart Rhythm, describes how a LMNA variant of unknown significance was identified as high-risk using family histories, genomic analysis and machine learning. “Genetic variants in LMNA are well known to cause a spectrum of clinical disease — referred to as laminopathies — particularly cardiomyopathy,…

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How Patient-Derived Stem Cells are Changing the Trajectory of Congenital Heart Disease Research
How Patient-Derived Stem Cells are Changing the Trajectory of Congenital Heart Disease Research 1024 683 Katie Brind'Amour, PhD, MS, CHES

Small blood samples — and the patient-specific, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) they enable — turn into valuable research material for understanding congenital cardiovascular disorders, especially when united with modern genome sequencing and editing, animal models and three dimensional tissue growth technologies. Patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) have a significant downside for studying most…

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Featured Researcher — Mingtao Zhao, DVM, PhD
Featured Researcher — Mingtao Zhao, DVM, PhD 150 150 Natalie Wilson

Mingtao Zhao, DVM, PhD, is a principal investigator in the Center for Cardiovascular Research at the Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. He is also an assistant professor of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. Dr. Zhao’s research aims to understand heart development and pioneer novel treatments for congenital heart…

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Novel Nitric Oxide-Mediated Mechanism Facilitates Calcific Aortic Valve Disease
Novel Nitric Oxide-Mediated Mechanism Facilitates Calcific Aortic Valve Disease 1024 752 Lauren Dembeck
Top-down view of heart valves

The novel pathway could be targeted to prevent or reverse aortic valve calcification in humans. Researchers have recently described a novel nitric oxide-mediated mechanism in calcific aortic valve disease that involves the ubiqutin-proteasome pathway, and its modulation in animal models was shown to cause aortic valve calcification. The pathway could potentially be modulated to prevent…

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From Lab Work to “Home Work:” Tips on the Transition to Work From Home
From Lab Work to “Home Work:” Tips on the Transition to Work From Home 1024 683 Adrianna Matos-Nieves

PhD candidate Adrianna Matos-Nieves shares tips for research employees who are suddenly finding themselves transitioning from the wet lab to their home office. PhD students have a significant advantage when enduring coronavirus-imposed social distancing. We decided to do it voluntarily many years prior. But in all seriousness, the transition to working from home can be…

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New Model Provides Novel View of Congenital Heart Disease
New Model Provides Novel View of Congenital Heart Disease 150 150 Lauren Dembeck

The small animal model helps researchers to interpret genomic findings. Researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital have developed the first mouse model of congenital heart valve disease using a human gene carrying a disease-causing mutation. Using this model, they were able to follow the human valve disease phenotype from birth to adulthood and identify developmental deficits…

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Influences of Maternal Diabetes on Fetal Heart Development
Influences of Maternal Diabetes on Fetal Heart Development 150 150 Abbie Roth
A Key to Preventing Stenosis in Tissue-Engineered Vascular Grafts
A Key to Preventing Stenosis in Tissue-Engineered Vascular Grafts 600 400 Kevin Mayhood
Tissue engineered vascular graft

Seeding a high number of bone marrow mononuclear cells on graft appears to prevent narrowing. Tissue-engineered vascular grafts hold promise for children with congenital heart disease because the grafts, which carry a patient’s own cells, have the potential to grow and regenerate just as the child’s blood vessels do. But over time, some grafts develop…

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How Genes and Environment Interact to Raise Risk of Congenital Heart Defects
How Genes and Environment Interact to Raise Risk of Congenital Heart Defects 150 150 Mary Bates, PhD

Genetic susceptibility plus maternal hyperglycemia interact to contribute to heart defects during fetal development. Infants of mothers with diabetes have a three- to five-fold increased risk of congenital heart defects. Such developmental defects are likely caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. However, the molecular mechanisms by which maternal diabetes disrupts normal heart…

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Taking Innovation to Heart: Next Gen Interventions in Heart Valve Disease
Taking Innovation to Heart: Next Gen Interventions in Heart Valve Disease 1024 575 Abbie Roth

From bioengineers to interventional cardiologists, molecular biologists to cardiothoracic surgeons, experts with diverse backgrounds are focusing on the problem of heart valve disease in children. Heart valve disease affects more than 5 million Americans. And while acquired disease in the adult population certainly accounts for much of this, children with heart valve disease face multiple…

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Signaling Pathway Changes May Flag CAVD, Offer Target for Therapies
Signaling Pathway Changes May Flag CAVD, Offer Target for Therapies 150 150 Kevin Mayhood

Loss of TgfB1 from the endothelium leads to a reduction in Sox9 expression and valve calcification. A team of researchers has identified a molecular signaling pathway that, when altered, can contribute to calcific aortic valve disease (CAVD). The finding may provide a method for early diagnosis — many patients don’t learn they have the disease until it’s in the final…

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Taking a Closer Look at the Relationship Between Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease
Taking a Closer Look at the Relationship Between Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease 1024 575 Tiasha Letostak, PhD

A new study reveals surprising results regarding vascular stiffness of coronary microvessels in the presence of type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a chronic condition that affects the glucose metabolism as a result of insulin resistance. Patients with T2DM are two to four times more likely to have a heart attack than non-diabetic patients.…

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