Researchers from Penn Medicine received a $6 million, seven-year grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to uncover how the development and maintenance of heart cells is influenced by DNA.
The Penn research team, led by principal investigator Dr. Rajan Jain, an assistant professor of medicine and cell and developmental biology, aims to study how cardiac cells establish and maintain their identity over a lifetime.
The Jain lab’s previous research suggests that the way the DNA is folded and arranged within the cardiac cells’ nucleus can determine which genes are accessible and active, thus influencing the cells’ identity.
By further studying this process, they plan to examine how the identity of heart cells is maintained. This process is important to our overall health because heart cells that develop incorrectly or have their identity altered could contribute to congenital heart disease or cardiomyopathy.
The insights of the research potentially have the power to help drive future research on new therapies for cardiac disease. Read more here: