Cole DeForest, PhD (Chemical Engineering)
While the potential for biomaterial-based strategies to improve and extend the quality of human health through tissue regeneration and the treatment of disease continues to grow, the majority of current strategies rely on outdated technology initially developed and optimized for starkly different applications. Therefore, the DeForest Group seeks to integrate the governing principles of rational design with fundamental concepts from material science, synthetic chemistry, and stem cell biology to conceptualize, create, and exploit next-generation materials to address a variety of health-related problems. We are currently interested in the development of new classes of user-programmable hydrogels whose biochemical and biophysical properties can be tuned in time and space over a variety of scales. Our work relies heavily on the utilization of cytocompatible bioorthogonal chemistries, several of which can be initiated with light and thereby confined to specific sub-volumes of a sample. By recapitulating the dynamic nature of the native tissue through 4D control of the material properties, these synthetic environments are utilized to probe and better understand basic cell function as well as to engineer complex heterogeneous tissue.
Jay Heinecke, MD (Medicine/Metabolism, Endocrinology & Nutrition)
Research in the Heinecke laboratory focuses on understanding the role of high density lipoprotein (HDL-the good form of cholesterol) in the pathogenesis of heart disease. Major efforts focus on using a state-of-the-art chemical analytical methods we have developed to identify specific HDL particle populations and proteins that predict heart attacks in apparently healthy people. We are particularly interested in identifying heart disease risk factors in patients with diabetes, who are at greatly increased risk of heart disease.
Shin Lin, MD, PhD, MHS (Medicine/Cardiology)
The Lin Lab is interested in understanding the epigenomic changes which occur in cardiovascular disease states. The lab employs the latest in second generation sequencing methods to identify various regulatory elements on a global scale on human samples collected from the operating room. Generated data are subsequently analyzed in the context of other big data from public repositories on a computer cluster. High throughput methods involving stem cell differentiated cardiomyocytes are employed for subsequent in vitro validation. Murine models are also utilized to study key genes within a physiological framework. The research of the lab thus involves procurement of samples in the clinical setting, computational biology, statistics, molecular biology, stem cell culturing, and mouse work. By exploring the epigenomic changes of cardiovascular disease states, the hope is that new avenues for therapies will be discovered.
Farid Moussavi-Harami (Medicine/Cardiology)
Our lab is interested in studying mechanisms of cardiomyopathies (disease of the heart muscle) using molecular and biomechanical approaches. In collaborations with other labs at UW, we are using gene therapy approaches to manipulate the force generation capacity of heart muscle to improve cardiac function. Overall goal of our research program is to have more targeted treatment for patients with cardiomyopathies.
Anna Naumova, PhD (Radiology)
I have a long-standing interest to scientific research, biomedical imaging and data analytics. The main focus of my research is advancing pre-clinical and clinical cardiovascular studies at the University of Washington by implementation of the state-of-the-art non-invasive imaging technology for assessment of heart physiology, pathophysiology, myocardial perfusion and tissue composition. Specifically, I am interested in heart regeneration with human cardiomyocytes and non-invasive imaging of transplanted cells. We are developing quantitative non-contrast MRI techniques for characterization of myocardial tissue composition. This would allow identification of the fibrotic areas and myocardial graft without need of the MRI contrast agents. Our imaging approach is suitable to clinical studies on patients.