BmpRE adult heart

About our work

Heart disease remains the major cause of death in North American adults. Lost heart muscle is not replaced following events such as heart attacks. The heart compensates for this to maintain sufficient pump function in a way that ultimately leads to heart failure. Further, congenital heart defects occur in close to 1% of live births, and can have a severe impact on the health and mortality of children. Despite many years of research, little is known about the stem cells that go on to form the different types of cells found in the heart. These cells are called cardiac progenitors. As they are the “building blocks” of the heart, cardiac progenitors are an ideal vehicle to fix the damaged heart. We study this in zebrafish embryos, which allow live and direct visualization of all stages of heart development. Further, the adult zebrafish heart can fully regenerate, a process we seek to understand in order to allow human cardiac repair.  


Research in the Scott lab is focused on understanding the earliest events of cardiac development, and how the gene regulatory networks that govern heart development are re-deployed during cardiac regeneration. We employ a combination of genetic, transgenic, live imaging, in vivo proteomics, bioinformatic and genomics approaches to understand how genes regulate cardiac development at the cellular level. Further interests include the analysis of pathways that regulate vascular stability, in particular as they pertain to the disease Cerebral Cavernous Malformations (CCM).