Our Research

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The Lillehei Heart Institute is a premier clinical and basic science research institute focusing on cardiovascular genomics, heart development, heart regeneration, stem cell therapies, personalized medicine, heart failure, vascular biology, and device design to treat cardiovascular diseases. Over the past three years we have established and recruited new research teams and have developed state-of-the-art research facilities that have resulted in a 250% increase in grant funding and five large programmatic grants. These large programmatic grants allow for collaborations and synergies to promote new therapies. Two examples of these large funding mechanisms are outlined below.

Programmatic Grants

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institutes (NHLBI) Progenitor Cell Consortium

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institutes (NHLBI) Progenitor Cell Consortium

LHI is proud to be a leader in new cardiovascular therapies through the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institutes (NHLBI) Progenitor Cell Biology Consortium. The University of Minnesota represents the Midwestern hub of the consortium. 

The goal of the National Consortium is to identify and characterize progenitor cell lineages, to direct the differentiation of stem and progenitor cells to desired cell fates (such as heart or vascular cells), and to develop new strategies to address the unique challenges presented by the transplantation of these cells.

The National Consortium has assembled clusters of synergistic research projects, each with a multidisciplinary team of Principal Investigators, to establish virtual research hubs focused on progenitor cell biology. This programmatic initiative assembles outstanding research investigators at the University of Minnesota, and the Midwestern Hub is directed by Daniel J. Garry, M.D., Ph.D.

Facioscapulohumeral (FSHD) iPS cells: Modeling disease mechanisms, genetic correction and cell therapy.

Facioscapulohumeral (FSHD) iPS cells: Modeling disease mechanisms, genetic correction and cell therapy.

LHI has received grant funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the gene variation that causes facioscapulohumeral dystrophy (FSHD), the third most common type of muscular dystrophy. FSHD is a debilitating neuromuscular disease for which there is currently no treatment.

This programmatic initiative will allow synergies between the laboratories of Associate Professor Michael Kyba, PhD and Associate Professor Rita Perlingeiro, PhD. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) derived from FSHD patients' own cells are used to study myopathies caused by the gene variation. The goal of this work is to develop a genetic therapy to treat and to discover a cure for FSHD.