In Vitro Modeling Human Heart Development
There is an urgent need for in vitro models that can recapitulate the cardiac developmental process and can be used to study the drug effects on cardiac developmental stages and potentially overall fetus health. We develop the first in vitro model to mimic the early developing human heart, which helps us screen for drugs likely to generate to cardiac birth defects using a high-content system. We use our cell-patterning method to present biophysical cues during the hiPSC cardiac differentiation to generate 3D ventricle-like cardiac microchambers that mimic early developing hearts. We envisage that this in vitro model of human early heart development would be a pioneering breakthrough in drug discovery, regulation, and prescription for safe pregnancy and fetus development.
In Vitro Modeling Human Cardiomyopathies
The integration of complex in vitro cardiac tissue models with human induced pluripotent stem (hiPS) cells and genome editing tools has been shown to enhance the physiological phenotype, improve cardiomyocyte (CMs) maturity, and recapitulate disease pathologies. We establish cardiac tissue models populated with healthy wild-type hiPS-CMs and genome-engineered isogenic diseased hiPS-CMs. Gene-editing techniques allow us to interrogate specific gene mutations with isogenic control, and engineered systems allow us mimicking the in vivo tissue architecture and modulating the environmental stress. This in-vivo mimicked stem cell-derived cardiac microtissue platform could be useful for identifying the genetic and environmental basis of human cardiomyopathies, and screen potential drug candidates for treatment.