Our research at the Kwon lab is motivated by the high burden of heart disease in the United States. Heart disease is the largest cause of morbidity and mortality in the country, with some 6.5 million Americans suffering from heart failure. Congenital heart disease also remains a significant clinical problem, and affects up to 75 of every 1000 live births.
Our approach is to take a developmental biology perspective towards heart disease. We aim to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which the heart develops from its earliest precursors - cardiac progenitor cells - and identify pathways that are dysregulated in disease. We additionally work to develop in vitro and animal models that can be used to identify potential therapeutics.
Our lab projects can be broadly divided into two areas, cardiac development and cardiac maturation, which seek to answer the following questions:
What signaling pathways regulate the induction, maintenance, and differentiation of various populations of cardiac progenitor cells?
2. What factors coordinate structural and functional maturation of differentiated cardiac myocytes?
You can read more about each project area below: