Dan Li - Cardiac Sciences - 'hiPSC-based modelling of cardiovascular diseases and neurocardiac interactions'
Cardiovascular diseases are a leading cause of death worldwide. They result from a variety of factors, including genetics, lifestyle, and environmental exposures. This project aims to investigate the use of human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) derived cardiomyocytes and cardiac organoids as disease models to explore novel therapeutic avenues for cardiovascular diseases such as cardiac arrhythmia, hypertrophy, and diabetic cardiomyopathy. The core of this project involves developing hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes and cardiac organoids that faithfully recapitulate disease pathology. Furthermore, our proposal extends to the realm of neurocardiac interactions by introducing hiPSC-derived sympathetic neurons into the model. By establishing neuronal-cardiac co-culture systems, we will gain insights into how the nervous system influences cardiac function in health and disease. Cutting-edge techniques, such as Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) and calcium imaging will be employed for precise measurement of intracellular signaling dynamics. Additionally, we will use state-of-the-art methodologies, including optical mapping and electrical mapping using a Microelectrode Array (MEA) system, to comprehensively analyze the electrophysiological properties of the models. The results of this project will provide new insights into the mechanisms of cardiac diseases and could ultimately lead to new treatments and prevention strategies.