Center Highlights

  • Erik Blackwood, PhD
    Erik Blackwood, PhD
    Congratulations to Erik Blackwood, PhD, who was recently elected as the chair of the Early Career Investigator Committee for the International Society for Heart Research. Dr. Blackwood will represent the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix and the entire North American Section of ISHR in this worldwide cardiovascular research community by being tasked with the planning of the World Congress in Berlin, Germany, in June 2022, as well as coordinating all activities for early career researchers globally.
  • Congratulations to Taben Hale, PhD, and her collaborators Jill Goldstein, PhD, of Harvard University, and Dr. Robert Handa, PhD, from Colorado State University! They were awarded an $8 million NIH grant to study the impact of prenatal stress on the long-term risk of co-morbid depression and heart disease in offspring.

  • Congratulations to Dr. Erik Blackwood on his recent receipt of a University of Arizona Post-doctoral Research Development Grant.

  • Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine — section Heart Failure and Transplantation — just launched the research topic entitled “Edema in Heart Failure with Reduced Ejection Fraction.” Inna Gladysheva, PhD and Ryan D. Sullivan, DVM, LATG, from the TCRC, along with Pierpaolo Pellicori, MD, from the University of Glasgow are serving as guest editors. The goal of this topic is to present and evaluate the mechanisms underlying edema development, which defines the transition from pre-symptomatic to symptomatic heart failure. Original research, reviews and short communications exploring existing and novel modalities for objective edema diagnostics, monitoring and treatment strategies in translational and clinical studies are encouraged for submission. The deadline for an abstract is November 30, 2021; for an invited manuscript, it is March 31, 2022.

  • Rod Tung, MD
    Rod Tung, MD
    June 10, 2021 – We are happy and honored to announce that Roderick Tung, MD, has been named chief of the Division of Cardiology and director of Cardiovascular Clinical Research for the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix and Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix. He will also serve as the director of the Cardiovascular Center at Banner – UMC Phoenix. Dr. Tung is an electrophysiologist and is keenly interested in translational cardiovascular research in many areas, such as ventricular tachycardia and atrial fibrillation. We welcome Dr. Tung as an inaugural member of the Translational Cardiovascular Research Center (TCRC) and look forward to many research collaborations in the future.
  • In April 2021, the center unveiled the cornerstone pieces of equipment in the TCRC Imaging Lab, a Leica TCS SP8 STED super-resolution confocal with white light laser, FALCON/FLIM, and Tau Sense, and a Leica DMi8 S Infinity THUNDER with TIRF module equipped with a stage top incubation chamber for live-cell imaging.
  • Drs. Jakobi and Doroudgar
    Drs. Jakobi and Doroudgar
    March 2021, saw the center welcome its two newest faculty members — Drs. Tobias Jakobi and Shirin Doroudgar. Drs. Doroudgar and Jakobi come to us from one of the largest, most famous universities in Europe — the University of Heidelberg Medical School in Heidelberg, Germany. They have expertise in cell and molecular cardiology, as well as bioinformatics; and they will play key roles in overseeing the clinical stem cell lab and the precision medicine translational data management systems in the center.

Recent Publications

  • In the October 2021 issue of Science Direct, Jessika Iwanski. Sobhi G. Kazmouz, Shuaizhi LiBen StansfieldTori T. SalemSamantha Perez-MillerToshinobu KazuiLipsa JenaJennifer L. Uhrlaub, Scott LickJanko Nikolich-ŽugichJohn P. Konhilas, Carol C. GregorioMay Khanna, Samuel K. Campos, & Jared M. Churko published a peer-reviewed research paper titled "Antihypertensive drug treatment and susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection in human PSC-derived cardiomyocytes and primary endothelial cells"  This paper provides their research findings on pathogenicity of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) and how it has been attributed to its ability to enter through the membrane-bound angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor. 
  • In the September 2021 issue of Tissue Engineering Part B: Reviews, Tori Salem, Zachary Frankman, Jared Churko published a peer-reviewed research paper titled "Tissue engineering techniques for iPSC derived three-dimensional cardiac constructs" showing how Recent developments in applied developmental physiology have provided well-defined methodologies for producing human stem cell derived cardiomyocytes. Cardiomyocytes produced in this way have become commonplace as cardiac physiology research models.   This review provides a readable, broad reaching, and thorough discussion of major factors to consider for the development of cardiovascular tissues from stem cell derived cardiomyocytes. 
  • In the July 2021 issue of Stem Cells International, Ikeotunye Royal Chinyere, Pierce Bradley, Joshua Uhlorn, Joshua Eason, Saffie Mohran, Giuliana G. Repetti, Sherry Daugherty, Jen Watson Koevary, Steven Goldman, and Jordan J. Lancaster published a peer-review research paper titled "Epicardially Placed Bioengineered Cardiomyocyte Xenograft in Immune-Competent Rat Model of Heart Failure" the article provides information on how human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs) are under preclinical investigation as a cell-based therapy for heart failure post-myocardial infarction.  This present study is aimed at confirming the graft therapeutic efficacy in an immune-competent chronic heart failure (CHF) model and providing evaluation of the in vitro properties of the tissue graft. 
  • In the April 2021 issue of the International Journal of Molecular Sciences (Special Issue Heart Failure: From Molecular Basis to Therapy.2.0), Ranjana Tripathi, Ryan Sullivan, Tai-Hwang Fan, Radhika Mehta, Inna Gladysheva, and Guy Reed published a peer-review translational research paper titled “A Low-Sodium Diet Boosts Ang (1–7) Production and NO-cGMP Bioavailability to Reduce Edema and Enhance Survival in Experimental Heart Failure”. This paper reports the pathophysiological outcomes (cardiac function, pulmonary and systemic edema, blood pressure, kidney function, survival) and underlining mechanisms of low-sodium diet on the progression of experimental normotensive dilated cardiomyopathy to symptomatic HFrEF in randomized, blinded pre-clinical trial. The beneficial molecular pathways related outcomes of the low-sodium diet included increases in ACE2, Ang (1–7), NO and cGMP, which acted to compensate for the deleterious effects of systemic classical RAAS activation observed with this diet.
  • In June 2020Yu Jing Li, Samuel Shi, Qiang Liu, Fu-Dong Shi and Rayna Gonzales published "Targeted Role for Sphingosine-1-Phosphate Receptor 1 in Cerebrovascular Integrity and Inflammation during Acute Ischemic Stroke" in Neuroscience LettersIn this review, they highlighted the impact of sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P)/S1PR1 signaling involved in blood brain barrier integrity and cerebrovascular inflammation following acute ischemic stroke. They focused on the beneficial actions of S1PR1 signaling during ischemic injury — including barrier protection to lessen brain edema formation and reduction in the development and progression of vascular inflammation by attenuating endothelial cell activation.