Global Health Nexus, Winter 2003

NHLBI Awards $663,250 Grant to NYU Dentistry to Bioengineer Heart Muscle

Dr. Louis Terracio, Associate Dean for Research, has received a $663,250 grant from the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute (NHLBI) to bioengineer an artificial heart muscle that could eventually be used to repair damaged human hearts. The experimental muscle is designed to be used to patch damaged heart ventricles and could also be implanted in children born with missing heart muscle because of congenital heart disease.

The grant provides Dr. Terracio with three years of funding to continue to develop an experimental cardiac muscle that bobs around a laboratory culture dish much like a human heart. Dr. Terracio believes that a video he made showing the tiny muscle moving around the dish may have helped to distinguish his proposal from the more than 100 other applications submitted to NHLBI for cardiovascular tissue engineering. His was one of 20 successful NHLBI applications.

“The video demonstrated that we had created significant-sized pieces of tissue that beat spontaneously and move around in the culture,” explains Dr. Terracio.