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Research

Two primary research directions of the group are:

  • Immune Regulation of Cardiac RegenerationInjury in an adult heart leads to the loss of functional cardiomyocytes (the beating cells). The loss of cells triggers an immune response, which regulates the regenerative response. As human heart doesn’t have robust regenerative ability, and thus heals primarily by forming non-functional scar tissue (fibrosis). We understand, how immune response following an injury modulates regeneration (formation of new functional cardiomyocytes) vs. fibrosis.
  • Molecular Regulators of Cardiac CalcificationAging, injury, and metabolic diseases can lead to calcification in the cardiovascular system. Calcification is the abnormal deposition of a bony matrix in soft tissue that can cause a mechanical or electrical block in the conduction system of the heart. The blockage can disrupt the smooth propagation of electric impulses leading to arrhythmias.
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  • Calcification is known to be an active cell-mediated process where bone-forming cells (osteoblast progenitors) mature and differentiate to induce mineralization. We have recently shown that cardiac fibroblasts in the adult heart adopt an osteoblast-like fate and induce mineralization in the heart (Pillai et al Cell Stem Cell, 2017). Currently, there are no treatment modalities available to treat cardiac calcification. We are investigating the molecular regulation of cardiovascular calcification to develop better therapeutic options.

    Thus using stem cells, bio-engineering principles, and experimental models of cardiac injury, we are exploring the molecular mechanisms modulating regeneration, fibrosis, and calcification in the heart. Our ultimate goal is to augment the regeneration of the adult heart to produce a better functional outcome.

Research Fellows

  • Amrutraji C.
  • Aiswaria P. Anil
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Collaboration

  • Dr. Jackson James,
    Scientist F, Rajiv Gandhi Center for Biotechnology,Trivandrum,India
  • Dr. Dianhua Jiang,
    MD, PhD, Professor, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California,USA

Funding Agency

  • Ramalingaswami Fellowship, Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India (2017-2022)
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