NIH awards U of Alabama researcher $11.2M for heart attack tissue study

The National Institutes of Health awarded a $11.2 million, five-year grant to Jianyi Zhang, MD, PhD, to study how to restore dead tissue from a heart attack, UAB News reported.

Up until an experimental procedure performed by Zhang and his colleagues, mammalian hearts  had shown no ability to grow new heart muscle cells after birth. Through their research, they discovered a way to extend  heart muscle cell growth past birth.

Researchers at University of Alabama at Birmingham, Minneapolis-based University of Minnesota Medical School and Dallas-based University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center will use the grant in three projects to explore pathways of reprogramming adult heart muscle cells and endothelial cells. 

They hope to make cells reenter the cell cycle and proliferate after a heart attack.

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