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Molecular Biology of Cardiac Disease


Modern technologies are identifying the molecular mechanisms leading to heart disease, a leading cause of death in the United States. Over the past several years, mutations leading to some forms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, dilated cardiomyopathy, cardiac arrhythmias, atrial fibrillation, and congenital heart disease have been identified. The process of disease gene identification continues and we anticipate that new discoveries will be discussed at this meeting. Most of these disease gene identifications define steps in cardiac development or cardiac physiology. The identification of disease causing mutations leads to new challenges: How do these mutations cause disease? Does understanding the mechanisms that lead to disease lead to therapies? Bringing together cardiac physiologists, developmental biologists, human geneticists and cardiologists will allow interactions that should help address these questions. Our understanding of cardiac development has also grown significantly in recent years. We now know that some, if not most, forms of congenital heart disease represent defects in heart formation. Further, some investigators have suggested that some of the defects seen in the cardiomyopathies reflect altered activation of developmental pathways. Again, interactions between developmental biologists, human geneticists and cardiologists should provide novel insights into these processes. We believe that this meeting will provide a useful forum for the new developments in this field.

Funded by the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences through its Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program, grant number UL1TR002541.