How to build a heart - from organ formation to function

Dr. Michelle Collins
Postdoctoral Fellow, Didier Stainier's Lab, Max Planck Institute of Heart and Lung Research
Wednesday, February 19, 2020 - 3:00pm
PGCRL Auditorium, 686 Bay St., SickKids
Faculty Recruitment Seminar
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading global cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Many of these diseases have a significant genetic component that perturbs cardiac development and function. Genome-wide association studies and whole-exome sequencing approaches have identified a wealth of genetic risk factors for cardiovascular disease. However, a major barrier to the development of new therapeutics and personalized medicine is our limited understanding of the fundamental biology underlying disease-associated variants. The overarching aim of my research is to decipher the genetic and cellular abnormalities underlying defective cardiac rhythm and function using state-of-the-art genetic and imaging approaches in zebrafish and iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes. In this seminar, I will highlight my work on how the loss of a key transcription factor, Pitx2c, leads to developmental defects in sarcomere organization and cardiac metabolism that precede the onset of cardiac arrhythmia in zebrafish. Additionally, I will discuss future plans to elucidate the function of genes associated with inherited forms of cardiac rhythm disorders and cardiomyopathies.
Drs. Brian Ciruna and John Brumell
Developmental and Stem Cell Biology