The Cardiovascular Research Center’s scientists believe the move to the NCRC facility will offer new opportunities to intensify their efforts to prevent and treat heart conditions affecting 80 million Americans. “It is immediately obvious that NCRC is not a ‘surplus space’ to satiate unplanned growth, but a thoughtfully designed research complex appealing to new and established investigators where top research can thrive,” says Dr. Héctor Valdivia, MD, PhD, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine.
Dr. Valdivia moved to U-M, along with 10 other heart researchers, from his former laboratory at the University of Wisconsin. He added that the clustering of investigators of specific disciplines or with common research interests opens ample opportunities for collaborations.
Daniel D. Myers, Jr., DVM, MPH, ACLAM, director of the Conrad Jobst Vascular Research Laboratories, agrees. “We are excited about the move to our newly-renovated 4,000 sq ft space at NCRC, and continue to be impressed by the staff here at NCRC as they provide us with continued support,” said Dr. Myers.
[pullquote align=”right”]“The overall vision is to make the University of Michigan the most important cardiovascular research center in the United States” -Dr. José Jalife, Director[/pullquote]Center researchers come from a wide range of disciplines such as cardiac surgery, vascular surgery, cardiovascular medicine, physiology and electrical engineering and computer science. They aim to boost interdisciplinary collaboration and focus their energies on a wide spectrum of cardiovascular research that includes areas such as vascular biology, arrhythmia, cardiovascular genetics, cardiovascular cell and molecular biology, assisted circulation and cardiovascular pharmacology.
For example, Adam B. Stein, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine explains, “Our lab seeks to determine the role that epigenetic regulators play in heart development and heart disease. We use murine models that allow us to alter epigenetic regulators in developing and differentiated adult cardiac myocytes. We examine animals in disease states to ascertain the importance the mechanistic importance of the various epigenetic regulators.”
Other Cardiovascular Research Center initiatives have included:
“The overall vision is to make the University of Michigan the most important cardiovascular research center in the United States, particularly in the translation of basic science into the treatment of cardiac diseases,” said Dr. José Jalife, MD, Director of the Cardiovascular Research Center and Co-director of the Cardiovascular Center’s Center for Arrhythmia Research (CAR). CAR is focused on improving the outlook for people with heart rhythm defects known as arrhythmias. It is the largest laboratory to relocate to the NCRC.
The most common arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation, affects about 2.5 million people in the United States, and current treatments benefit only a fraction of those patients. “It’s essential to find new treatments that can help us prevent the development of atrial fibrillation or terminate persistent atrial fibrillation.” Because of his pioneering work on cardiac arrhythmia research, Dr. Jalife was selected for the 2013 Arthur C Guyton Award by the Association of Chairs of Departments of Physiology. He adds, “U-M has provided a collaborative environment for advancing our work, and the move to NCRC has been the icing on the cake.”