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Our Research


Genetic-based Cardiomyopathy

Our lab's focal disease of study is arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC). ARVC is a genetic cardiac disease that affects 1 in 1000-2500 individuals and is one of the leading causes of sudden death. Clinical manifestations include cardiac electrical dysfunction, cardiac tissue irregularities, and consequently, cardiac dysfunction. 

Our lab also studies dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). DCM is a cardiac disease with a prevalence range from 1 in 2500 up to 1 in 250 individuals. Clinical features include enlarged and stretched cardiac chambers, as well as poor cardiac pumping. 

In addition, we have also studied hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). HCM is another genetic-based cardiac disease present prevalent in 1 of 500 individuals. A remarkable clinical feature of HCM includes enlargement and thickening of the cardiac muscle encompassing one of the heart chambers, typically the left ventricle. 

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Models and Techniques

Our lab exploits genetically engineered mouse models and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from human patients, miniaturized physiological assays, and a range of molecular and cell biological techniques, including yeast-two-hybrid screens to uncover novel protein interactions that may drive cardiac disease pathogenesis. Through collaboration, we have exploited in vitro model systems (eg. aligned cardiomyocyte mouse models, co-culture devices, specialized cardiac extracellular matrix coatings, 3-D printing) that have uncovered early mechanisms and unconventional roles for cell-cell junction proteins in cardiac muscle, conduction, maturity and human cardiac disease.


Immunofluorescence imaging of a cardiac muscle from a mouse model

Identification of a novel desmoplakin interacting protein using a yeast-2-hybrid screen

Screen Shot 2021-03-31 at 11.09.55

Magnetic resonance imaging used to generate 3D geometric models of the endocardium


Our laboratory actively collaborates with leading academics and clinicians in the cardiovascular, stem cell, bioengineering and chemistry fields from near and far to accelerate our research discoveries.

  • Kirk L. Peterson, MD (UCSD, USA)                          

  • Mel Scheinman, MD (UCSF, USA)    

  • Andrew M. McCulloch, PhD (UCSD, USA)               

  • Jeffrey H. Omens, PhD (UCSD, USA)                      

  • Carl Tong, MD, PhD (Texas A&M Health Science Center, USA)

  • Karen Christman, PhD (UCSD, USA)

  • Kevin King, MD, PhD (UCSD, USA            

  • Alysson Muotri, PhD (UCSD, USA)                                                                

  • Shoaochen Chen, PhD (UCSD, USA)                               

  • Alexis Komor, PhD (UCSD, USA)

  • Angeliki Asimaki, MD (St. George's College in London, UK)

  • Eric Adler, MD (UCSD, USA)

  • Victoria Parikh, MD (Stanford University, USA)    

  • Eugene Yeo, PhD (UCSD, USA)                                                         

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