Studying the Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Congenital Heart Disease

Studying the Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Congenital Heart Disease

Bernice Morrow, Ph.D., and Deyou Zheng, Ph.D., have received a four-year, $2.4 million National Institutes of Health grant to investigate embryogenesis of the cardiac outflow tract, which divides during fetal development into the aorta and the pulmonary trunk, both of which provide blood to the body. Cardiac neural crest cells (CNCCs) play key roles in forming the cardiac outflow tract. Dr. Morrow, Dr. Zheng, Christopher De Bono, Ph.D., and colleagues found that these CNCCs are disrupted in mouse models of human 22q11.2 deletion syndrome.

Using mouse models and genomic technologies, the researchers will study the role of these CNCC populations in mammalian heart development. The genes they’ll be investigating are associated with human congenital heart disease, so the findings may lead to improved outcomes for people with congenital heart problems.

Dr. Morrow is professor of genetics, obstetrics & gynecology & women’s health, of pediatrics, holds the Sidney L. and Miriam K. Olson Chair in Cardiology and is the director of translational genetics at Einstein. Dr. Zheng is professor of genetics, in the Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology, and in the Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience at Einstein. Dr. De Bono is an associate in Dr. Morrow’s laboratory. (1R01HL163667-01)

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