The Texas Heart Institute Research Symposium: Cutting-Edge Innovations Driving Translational Clinical Care
HOUSTON (Oct. 27, 2023) — Renowned scientists and clinicians from The Texas Heart Institute gathered this week for its inspiring, annual Research Symposium.
Held in the Denton A. Cooley Auditorium — and live streamed for those not in attendance — the conference provided a window into exciting projects currently underway at the Institute, long-recognized worldwide for its scientific innovation.
A celebration of the Institute’s cutting-edge research portfolio, the event highlighted THI’s pioneering efforts in translating laboratory innovations into improved cardiovascular health for patients across the world. The symposium underscored the vital role of collaboration — among THI centers and departments, as well as with external institutions — in advancing cardiovascular research and treatment.
Darren G. Woodside, PhD, Vice President for Research, kicked off the day-long event by encouraging participants to enjoy the science and camaraderie with their colleagues, as well as opportunities for enhanced collaboration among the Institute’s labs.
Translational Medicine: From Laboratories to Patient Bedsides
The Texas Heart Institute President and CEO Joseph G. Rogers, MD, then welcomed attendees noting, “This is a wonderful day to pause and recognize the pioneering work we do every day in our research labs and clinic. And it’s a day to celebrate the fact that this group of people is changing the way the world views cardiovascular health and the care of patients with heart disease.
“The changes you make are important and your work directly is translated into the care of people who are ill. On behalf of those people, many of whom you never get a chance to meet, thank you! We have an incredible mission at The Texas Heart Institute, and we should always anchor ourselves and our work in that knowledge.”
He shared the story of young mother of three toddlers who experienced sudden cardiac death and is alive today in part because of the innovations and care of the Institute’s scientists and physicians. “So, I don’t ever want you to think that the things you do every day don’t make an enormous difference to huge numbers of patients across the world.”
Research Presentations: Basic, Preclinical, and Clinical
Directors from the Institute’s centers and key research programs shared updates on their latest projects, including:
- Yaxin Wang, PhD, and Chris Chan, PhD:
“Progress Report for Developing Long-Term Organ Preservation Technology and Future Perspective”
- Ana Segura, MD, MPH:
- Abdelmotagaly “Abdou” Elgalad, MD, PhD:
“Center for Preclinical Surgical & Interventional Research”
- Lourdes Chacon Alberty, PhD:
“Biorepository and Biospecimen Profiling Core Laboratory”
- Stephanie Coulter, MD and Keri Sprung, MBA:
“Center for Women’s Heart & Vascular Health Update”
- Matthew Segar, MD:
“Harnessing Data for Heart Health: Integrating Registry Insights into POAF Prevention”
- Allison Post, PhD (on behalf of Mehdi Razavi, MD):
“EPCRI: Providing Solutions for EP’s Most Shocking and Burning Problems”
- Emerson Perin, MD:
“Center for Clinical Research Update”
Attendees also were treated to 10-minute presentations from early-stage investigators, including:
- Lin Liu, PhD, McGill Gene Editing Lab (GEL):
“YAP Induces Cardiogenesis by Directing Cardiomyocyte Metabolic Remodeling”
- Lukas Jaworski, MS, Electrophysiology Clinical Research and Innovations (EPCRI) Lab:
“Conductive Hydrogels: Mediating the Harshness of RF Ablation”
- Fansen Meng, PhD, Cardiomyocyte Renewal Lab (CMRL):
“SARS-CoV2 Protein NSP13 Suppresses Hippo Signaling Downstream Effector YAP”
- Phong Tran, Innovative Device & Engineering Aspirations (IDEA) Lab:
“Assessment of Hemodynamic Effects and Wall Shear Stress in Fontan Assist Device Using a Cardiovascular Simulator with Computational Fluid Dynamic Coupling”
Presentation of Early-Stage Investigator Award
At the conclusion of the symposium, Dr. Woodside proudly presented the 2023 Early-Stage Investigator Award to Dr. Lui, a postdoctoral research associate in the McGill Gene Editing Lab, led by James F. Martin, MD, PhD.
Dr. Woodside concluded the day noting, “I always enjoy coming together at this event to review the many ways we all contribute to the excellent work for which The Texas Heart Institute is world-renowned… The research that began with Dr. Bud Frazier’s work in developing mechanical circulatory assist devices has progressed to this broad swath of advanced research endeavors throughout the Institute. Many of you are leading new fields and inventing tools that will directly improve patient care and cardiovascular health. Thank you for your important work and for sharing updates with us here today.”