Current Research and Scholarly Interests
Heart failure and coronary artery disease are leading clinical problems in the western countries with limited therapeutical options (www.americanheart.org). The heart, however, has endogenous mechanisms of repair that could potentially be enhanced pharmacologically and be used as novel approaches for treatment. Based on a genetic, stem cell and biochemical approaches, research in the Ruiz-Lozanos laboratory focuses on the discovery, analysis and applications of endogenous cardiac repair systems with particular emphasis on the role of epicardial progenitor cells.
Current projects in the laboratory include: 1. The determination of the fate of coronary progenitor cells from the epicardium and their response to growth signals. 2. The potential of epicardial cells to modulate cardiac morphogenesis. 3. Adaptation mechanisms of the heart to stress and aging.
Among the achievements of the laboratory is the generation of the first animal model targeting specific mutations to coronary progenitor cells and the identification of genetic pathways that regulate cardiac growth and coronary formation. A major effort is committed to the isolation of progenitor cells and tissue repair.