CBAC News  



A sodium surprise

Engineers find unexpect result during cardiac research

This article features CBAC members Jonathan Silva, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, and Jeanne Nerbonne, Alumni Endowed Professor of Molecular Biology and Pharmacology and director of the Center for Cardiovascular Research at Washington University’s School of Medicine.

Silva, Nerbonne and Zoltan Varga from the University of Debrecen in Hungary worked with collaborators to take a closer look at the sodium ion channels responsible for creating the electrical signal that makes the heartbeat.They found that certain sodium subunits attached to the main protein in different places. It was an unexpected result that could lead to better drug delivery and efficacy for patients with heart arrhythmia.



Researchers connect molecular function to high blood pressure, diseases

CBAC member Jianmin Cui, professor of biomedical engineering, and collaborators in three labs at WashU are studying the BK channel, which has been found to be important in regulating neuronal function and blood pressure.



Common heart ailment target of new research

CBAC member Jonathan Silva, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, will conduct the research with a five-year, $1.9 million grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health. Specifically, Silva and his team will study how small molecules and proteins interact with ion channels in the heart to cause and prevent arrhythmia, when the heart beats too fast, too slow, or is too unstable.



FDA Clears Noninvasive CardioInsight Mapping Solution from Medtronic

The CardioInsight ECGI system was cleared by the FDA. After 30 years of development and validation in CBAC Director Yoram Rudy's laboratory, he hopes to see ECGI in clinical use in hospitals, helping to treat cardiac patients.



Van Hare Named President-Elect of the Heart Rhythm Society

CBAC member George F. Van Hare III, MD, director of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been named president-elect of the Heart Rhythm Society, a global research and education group focused on cardiac rhythm disorders.



Heart of the Matter: Jonathan Silva Studying Genetic Mutations

In the last 20 years, researchers have discovered a genetic mutation behind the second-leading cause of death in Southeast Asian males under age 40: Brugada Syndrome, which leads to sudden death from abnormal heart rhythm, or arrhythmia.



Researchers create first 3-D mathematical model of uterine contractions

CBAC member Arye Nehorai, the Eugene and Martha Lohman Professor of Electrical Engineering and chair of the Department of Electrical & Systems Engineering in the School of Engineering & Applied Science, and his team have developed the first 3-D multiscale mathematical model of the electrophysiology of a woman’s contractions as they begin from a single cell to the myometrium, or uterine tissue, into the uterus.



How a Frankenstein Prototype Ended Up Being Worth $93M

Recent news on Electrocardiographic Imaging (ECGI) from MedTechWorld, MPMN, Medical Product Manufacturing News journal:

FULL PDF (Cover and article on p. 22)


New insights in mechanisms of human cardiac arrhythmias

Medtronic acquired CardioInsight Technologies, developer of a clinical noninvasive imaging system, called ECGI, for noninvasive mapping of the electrical activity of the heart and cardiac arrhythmias. The ECGI concept and methodology were developed in Professor Yoram Rudy’s laboratory with support from the NIH – National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.



Exercise for older mouse mothers lowers risk of heart defects in babies

A new study, led by CBAC member Patrick Jay, demonstrates that older mouse mothers reduce the risk of heart defects for their offspring to that of younger mouse mothers through exercise alone.



NIH grant to support study of heart’s inner mechanisms

Findings could lead to better treatment for cardiac arrhythmia and long QT syndrome

CBAC member Jianmin Cui, PhD, has received a nearly $1.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the molecular bases for the function of potassium channels vital for the heart, brain, inner ear and other tissues.



Nanoparticle that lights up artery-clogging plaque to be evaluated in clinical trial

CBAC member Pamela Woodard, MD, led a team that designed a new imaging agent that may light up dangerous plaque in arteries.




New technology focuses diffuse light inside living tissue

CBAC member Lihong Wang, the Gene K. Beare Professor of Biomedical Engineering, continues to build on his groundbreaking technology that allows light deep inside living tissue during imaging and therapy.



Research opens opportunities to develop targeted drug therapy for cardiac arrhythmia

CBAC members Jianmin Cui, PhD, professor of biomedical engineering, and Mark Zaydman, fifth-year MD/PhD student, and a team of biomedical engineers has discovered that for one important channel in the heart, called KCNQ1, the membrane voltage not only causes the channel to open, but also determines the properties of the electrical signals, acting as both conductor and composer rather than only conductor as previously believed.



Wickline receives chancellor’s innovation award

CBAC member Samuel A. Wickline, MD, received the Chancellor’s Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Washington University in St. Louis. Wickline, the James R. Hornsby Family Professor of Biomedical Sciences, was presented with the honor at the Faculty Achievement Awards ceremony.



Gel implant might help fight heart failure

HealthDay News for Healthier Living
By Dennis Thompsaon

Injecting beads of gel into the wall of a still-beating heart has the potential to improve the health of patients with severe heart failure, according to a new study by CBAC member Douglas L. Mann, MD, the Tobias and Hortense Lewin Professor of Medicine and cardiologist-in-chief at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Mann presented the study's findings at the American Heart Association (AHA) annual meeting in Chicago.



Washington University, Children’s Hospital join national network to study causes of preterm birth

Washington University, St. Louis Children’s Hospital and the March of Dimes are launching the March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center at Washington University in St. Louis. The new center has three research themes:

1.) CBAC Member Lihong V. Wang, PhD, and Methodius Tuuli, MD, will lead a team that will work to develop a new cervical-imaging device to help predict preterm birth.
2.) Alison G. Cahill, MD, and CBAC member Phil Cuculich, MD, will lead a team with the goal of developing a new device that will image uterine contractions, similar to how the heart is imaged.
3.) Sarah England, PhD, Justin Fay, PhD, Erik Herzog, PhD, and Emily Jungheim, MD, will lead a team that will determine if disruptions of sleep patterns (related to circadian rhythms) are a risk factor in preterm birth.



Heart’s own immune cells can help it heal

The heart holds its own pool of immune cells capable of helping it heal after injury, according to new research in mice.

The new research and past work by CBAC member Douglas L. Mann, MD, the Tobias and Hortense Lewin Professor of Medicine and cardiologist-in-chief at Barnes-Jewish Hospital — appear to implicate these immune cells of different origins as responsible for the difference in healing capacity seen in neonatal and adult hearts, at least in mice.


The study is now available in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.



Dangerous heart rates in children treated remotely with smartphone device

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis

Before Carmen Agniel left the hospital, her newborn baby girl Vivian experienced an episode where her heart raced dangerously fast. When another episode landed Vivian in St. Louis Children’s Hospital at 2 weeks old, CBAC member Dr. Jennifer Silva asked Agniel if she would like to use a device that attaches to her smartphone and accurately records the heart’s electrical activity. The readings transmit to an app on the phone that would allow Silva to monitor them anytime.



Heart ablation procedure gives a Belleville man new lease on life

Channel Fox 2 Now, St. Louis

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-Three million Americans are affected by atrial fibrillation, the most common heart rhythm disorder. More common in older people, a Belleville, IL man was diagnosed at age 24. CBAC Member Phillip Cuculich was able to conduct a catheter ablation procedure on him to increase his success rate.



Smartphone app can save lives of kids with heart conditions

A new smartphone app that monitors the heart's rhythm and rate is being trialled at a US hospital to help kids with cardiovascular conditions.

The preliminary study findings were presented at the annual conference at the Heart Rhythm Society's 35th Annual Scientific Sessions, May 7-10, 2014. CBAC member Jennifer Silva hopes the results will be published in the next few months.



Doctoral students to study biology, mechanics connection under NIH grant

CBAC member, Philip Bayly, PhD, will lead the grant to train four doctoral students in mechanobiology, a developing field that focuses on how forces and changes in cell or tissue mechanical properties contribute to growth, structure and health.



Genome regions once mislabeled ‘junk’ linked to heart failure

CBAC member, Jeanne Nerbonne, PhD, led a team that found a link between human heart failure and sections of the genome once referred to as junk DNA.


4/1/14 ECGI IMAGING Benefits Ablation for Ventricular Tachycardia

By Mary Jo Blackwood, RN, MPH

This procedure, called three-dimensional electroanatomic mapping, is effective at identifying the target area, but it is invasive and requires a series of ventricular tachycardia beats to isolate the target. Washington University electrophysiologists, who perform more than 100 cases of ablation for VT every year, are now studying a new mapping technology that was developed in CBAC Director Yoram Rudy's laboratory.

This piece was published as a cover story for the Barnes Jewish Hospital's winter 2014 newsletter and features CBAC members Mitchell Faddis, M.D., Ph.D., Dan Cooper, M.D. with figures by graduate student Junjie Zhang



3-D printer creates transformative device for heart treatment

CBAC member Igor Efimov, Ph. D. and an international team of biomedical engineers and materials scientists have created a 3-D elastic membrane made of a soft, flexible, silicon material that is precisely shaped to match the heart’s epicardium, or the outer layer of the wall of the heart.



Gene testing for heart diseases now available

According to CBAC member Philip Cuculich, MD and one of the cardiologists involved in the development of the test, “Results from this test can help us refine diagnoses and allow us to personalize management and treatment of our patients... The results also may help family members of affected patients decide if they want to be tested to see if they are at risk for developing the disease.”


Efimov research will ‘revolutionize implantable device therapy’

CBAC member Igor Efimov is studying more effective, less painful treatment options for an irregular heartbeat


Fuel smoke linked to cardiovascular issues

This article features CBAC member Victor Davila-Roman, Professor of Medicine, Anesthesiology, Radiology and Medical Director of the Cardiovascular Imaging and Clinical Research Core Laboratory.


Engineering breakthrough may answer host of medical questions

CBAC member Lihong Wang, the Gene K. Beare Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering, discovered a way to use light and color to measure oxygen in individual red blood cells in real time.


American Heart Association Names Dr. Douglas Mann the 2013 Hugh D. McCulloch Medical Honoree

The American Heart Association has named CBAC member Douglas Mann, M.D. as the 2013 recipient of the Hugh D. McCulloch Award in recognition of his significant contributions toward the association’s mission.  This award was given at the 2013 American Heart Association Heart Ball on Saturday, February 16, 2013 at the Ritz Carlton-St. Louis.



Genes provide clues to gender disparity in human hearts

Healthy men and women show little difference in their hearts, except for small electrocardiographic disparities. But new genetic differences found in hearts with disease ultimately could lead to personalized treatment of various heart ailments, Washington University in St. Louis researchers say.

This article features CBAC member Igor Efimov, Ph.D., the Lucy and Stanley Lopata Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering.



Less of a shock

A novel electrotherapy greatly reduces the energy needed to shock a heart back into rhythm, potentially making implanted defibrillators more acceptable to patients.

This article features CBAC member Igor Efimov, Ph.D., the Lucy and Stanley Lopata Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering.



Hundreds of Washington University physicians make ‘Best Doctors’ list

CBAC members Jane Chen, MD, Sanjeev Bhalla, MD, Ralph J. Damiano Jr., MD, Mitchell N. Faddis, MD, PhD,  Douglas L. Mann, MD, Timothy W. Smith, MD, PhD, Pamela K. Woodard, MD, and George F. Van Hare III, MD, are listed amongst the Best Doctors In America for 2012


$2 million to study role-switching cells in heart failure

This article features CBAC Director Yoram Rudy and member Igor Efimov, Ph.D., the Lucy and Stanley Lopata Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering.


Noninvasive imaging technique may help kids with heart transplants

CBAC member Samuel A. Wickline, MD, professor of medicine, and his colleagues, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have developed a noninvasive imaging technique that may help determine whether children who have had heart transplants are showing early signs of rejection.


Advanced cardiac imaging company raises $7.5M series

Noninvasive cardiac mapping company CardioInsight Technologies - a company started by CBAC Director Yoram Rudy's past graduate students, and is on their Scientific Advisory Board - has raised a $7.5 million series C round of investment. This new funding to push forward on European commercialization efforts and clinical studies aimed at obtaining U.S. regulatory clearance.



Washington University joins national heart failure network

At Washington University, the consortium is led by CBAC members, Victor G. Davila-Roman, MD, professor of medicine, and Douglas L. Mann, MD, the Tobias and Hortense Lewin Professor of Medicine.



Washington People: Igor Efimov

Biomedical engineer and CBAC member works to restore the heart’s rhythm


Dangerous arrhythmia analyzed in a heartbeat

Study shows noninvasive, fast way to map heart’s electrical activity in one heartbeat

This article features CBAC Director Yoram Rudy, and his lab members Junjie Zhang, Kavit A. Desouza, MD, Ramya Vijayakumar. CBAC members Phillip S. Cuculich, MD, Jane Chen, MD, Mitchell N. Faddis, MD, PhD and Timothy W. Smith, DPhil, MD are also mentioned.



New study calls into question reliance on animal models in cardiovascular research

Human hearts respond differently than mouse hearts to two cardiovascular drugs

This article features CBAC members Igor Efimov and Colin Nichols.



New procedure treats atrial fibrillation

The hybrid procedure blocks the errant electrical signals that cause atrial fibrillation from both the inside and outside of the heart.

This article features CBAC members Phillip S. Cuculich, MD and Ralph J. Damiano Jr., MD.



Taking kids to heart

CBAC Member George Van Hare, MD gets charge from solving kids’ heart problems



Solving the puzzle of the BK ion channel

A mutation in an ion channel that changes its dynamics is implicated in epilepsy

This article features CBAC member Jianmin Cui, PhD, the Spencer T. Olin Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering.



Scientist at heart

CBAC member Jean Schaffer, M.D., the Virginia Minnich Distinguished Professor of Medicine, tackles the complications of diabetes



Why enlarged hearts have abnormal rhythms

CBAC member Jeanne M. Nerbonne, Ph.D., the Alumni Endowed Professor of Molecular Biology discusses new findings



Man of heart

Kovács uses nature’s language, math, to solve the body’s mysteries

CBAC member Sándor J. Kovács, Ph.D, M.D., director of the Cardiovascular Biophysics Laboratory and professor of medicine is featured.



Eat less or exercise more? Either way leads to more youthful hearts

CBAC member Sándor J. Kovács, Ph.D, M.D., director of the Cardiovascular Biophysics Laboratory and professor of medicine explains



Signals of the heart

Modeling and measuring cardiac bioelectricity

The Winter 2007 issue of OUTLOOK, the Washington University School of Medicine magazine, featured the research conducted in Dr. Yoram Rudy's laboratory.



Surgeons develop simpler way to cure atrial fibrillation

CBAC member Ralph Damiano Jr., M.D., the John Shoenberg Professor of Surgery, chief of cardiac surgery and a cardiac surgeon at Barnes-Jewish Hospital discusses the Cox-maze IV technique



How do you measure a broken heart? Researchers find long-sought answer

CBAC member Sándor J. Kovács, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine, of cell biology and physiology and of biomedical engineering and adjunct associate professor of physics found the answer



Heart failure linked to altered communication channels

Failing hearts develop interference in their communication channels, according to research published by CBAC member Kathryn A. Yamada, Ph.D., research professor of medicine and her colleagues.



Closer to the heart

Yoram Rudy studies the precursors to deadly cardiac arrhythmias

CBAC Director Yoram Rudy’s character has been shaped in part by war and a pioneering spirit he observed in his parents, who were among the first settlers of the new state of Israel, established in 1948.



New hope for treating heart rhythm irregularity that often follows surgery

Atrial fibrillation, one of the most common and least manageable postoperative complications of heart surgery, may soon have an effective treatment. This article features CBAC member Ralph Damiano Jr., M.D., the John Schoenberg Professor of Surgery.



Fat may affect electrical impulses in brain, heart

Fatty molecules may modulate the electrical characteristics of nerve and heart cells by regulating the properties of key cell pores. This article features CBAC member Richard Gross, M.D., Ph.D.


New math model of heart cell has novel calcium pathway

Advance helps in arrythmia research

Dr. Yoram Rudy's lab developed the first mathematical model of a canine cardiac cell that incorporates a vital calcium regulatory pathway that has implications in life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats.


What’s Next: Beyond the EKG, to a Hypersensitive Heart Monitor

by Anne Eisenberg (NY Times)

Dr. Yoram Rudy, former professor of Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University, and current Director of the Cardiac Bioelectricity and Arrhythmia Center (CBAC) at Washington University in St. Louis, has, over the past 20 years, developed a unique method of electrocardiographic imaging (ECGI) that provides a noninvasive and detailed technique for recording electrical activity of the heart. This new method has great potential of one day helping to identify and diagnose patients at high risk of sudden cardiac death and life-threatening arrhythmias.



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