Reconstructing heart development to understand what causes congenital heart defects
Deconstructing and reconstructing heart development
Claudio Stern (lead researcher)
University College London
Start date: 01 June 2017 (Duration 18 months)
The human heart begins as a simple tube, which loops and folds itself to form a four-chambered heart, containing many different types of cells. This process of embryonic development in the womb sometimes goes wrong, causing congenital heart defects in babies. To understand why and how this happens, we need to understand each step of the process of how the heart forms.
Professor Stern will lead a project to study heart development in chicken embryos, as it is surprisingly similar to the process that happens in human hearts. The team will study how signals from cells next to the developing heart tell their neighbouring cells what to do, and therefore cause the heart to be formed.
By understanding the complex instructions in the developing embryo that cause a heart to form, the researchers hope we can uncover the causes of heart defects in babies. This may eventually help find new ways to repair these defects or prevent them from occurring.
||01 June 2017
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