Human pluripotent stem cells are able to divide infinitely and differentiate into any cell types of the body, including heart muscle cells termed as ventricular cardiomyocytes. Single ventricular cardiomyocytes can serve as fundamental blocks for building more complex tissues such as patches, contracting muscle strips and 3D fluid-pumping chambers (a.k.a. mini-hearts or cardiac organoids). Normal mini-hearts from different ethnic groups as well as sick hearts that carry particular human disease mutations can be cloned or fabricated for studying genetic diversity and disease mechanisms.
Professor Ronald Li and his co-workers at MWLC are now applying these technologies to study the fundamental biological mechanisms underlying a range of heart conditions with contractile defects and/or arrhythmias (i.e. electrical disturbances of the heart) with the goal of identifying new biomarkers for these diseases that afflict tens of millions of patients every year. On the translational front, such human heart prototypes are being used by industrial partners as the basis for developing high-throughput instrumentation and analytical programmes to facilitate the discovery and development of novel drugs and therapeutics.
|Ronald Li||Director Hong Kong node|
|Joe Lai||Research Assistant|