Basic Science Research

Going to the Source of Heart Disease

The Heart Institute has the nation’s only basic science division focused solely on problems related to pediatric heart disease. Basic research is carried out within the institute’s Division of Molecular Cardiovascular Biology. The division’s faculty of PhDs, MDs and MD / PhDs focus on understanding the molecular mechanisms that drive normal and abnormal heart and muscle development.

Our basic research is known internationally with faculty members serving on many national advisory and review boards. Research funding includes four major program grants and 14 individual grants from the National Institutes of Health. Additionally, our work is funded by many other national and international sources, including substantial grants from:

Faculty members are actively involved in training future clinical and basic researchers. Our laboratories offer MD and PhD fellows a rich research experience that is often translated directly into the clinic. Our fellows’ and students’ efforts have been recognized nationally; they have successfully applied for and been awarded 17 individual grants to support their basic and translational research efforts.

Our wide-ranging basic research is directed toward critical problems in pediatric cardiology:

  • Normal and abnormal heart development and function
  • Cell signaling
  • Human cardiovascular genetics
  • Heart failure
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Adult congenital heart disease
  • Valve disease
  • Metabolic syndrome

Faculty Conducting Basic Science Research in the Heart Institute

Faculty Focus of Research
Burns Blaxall, PhD Developing novel heart failure therapeutics
James Gulick, MS Contractile protein structure function
Zaza Khuchua, PhD Cardiac lipid and phospholipid metabolism
Marjorie Maillet, PhD Cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure
Douglas Millay, PhD Muscle development; cell fusion; muscular dystrophy
Jeff Molkentin, PhD Cardiac signaling and transcriptional mechanisms in disease
Jeffrey Robbins, PhD The laboratory uses genetically engineered models of human heart disease to establish cause and effect relationships
Joshua Waxman, PhD Genetic mechanisms of normal and abnormal heart development
Katherine Yutzey, PhD Molecular regulation of heart development and disease
Scientists conducting basic science research in the Heart Institute.