Identification of Human Embryonic-Derived Cardiac Progenitor Cells – Implications for Myocardial Repair The research performed in the Gepstein laboratory lies in the emerging fields of cardiovascular regenerative medicine. Specifically, our research focuses on the potential use of human pluripotent stem cells (such as human embryonic stem cells, hESC) for myocardial regeneration (for the treatment of post-myocardial infarction heart failure), and on utilizing genetically-engineered cell grafts to modify the myocardial electrophysiological properties (for the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias). Specific research programs that involve hESC include: Studying the mechanisms that are involved in early human cardiac-lineage commitment and differentiation, and the potential presence of a differentiation hierarchy during this process.
Studying the mechanisms that underlie the development of excitability and calcium handling in human cardiac tissue. Using the hESC cardiomyocyte differentiation system as a platform for functional genomics, pathophysiological modeling, and drug testing. Developing molecular, cell-based, and tissue engineering approaches to utilize hESC-derived cardiomyocytes for future myocardial repair strategies.