Dr. Aguirre is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a critical care cardiologist at the MGH Heart Center Intensive Care Unit. His clinical practice involves care of medical and surgical patients with all forms of advanced heart disease and he has particular interest in the area of acute decompensated heart failure and the use of mechanical circulatory support devices. Dr. Aguirre’s laboratory both develops and applies innovative molecular imaging and advanced microscopy technologies to investigate the pathophysiology of myocardial infarction, heart failure, and circulatory shock. The lab has pioneered the use of cardiac intravital microscopy to study the beating heart at cellular resolution in animal models and has explored multiple applications of this technology. In addition, the lab studies acute decompensated heart failure and shock in human patients using machine learning applied to data from the cardiac intensive care units at the MGH. Work in the lab has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, and CRICO.
Dr. Ho is an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School and faculty member of the Advanced Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplantation section and the Cardiovascular Research Center at MGH. She is a nationally recognized independent investigator and her laboratory is focused on clinical and translational research to understand mechanisms driving heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). Specifically, her laboratory is focused on obesity-related changes that may lead to HFpEF, including inflammation and metabolic dysfunction. She has published over 70 peer-reviewed original investigations and is the recipient of multiple NIH awards and the MGH Claflin Distinguished Scholar Award.
She plays an active role in the education of both residents and fellows and has mentored over 15 trainees in her laboratory. Dr. Ho has served as the Cardiology Subspecialty Core Educator to the MGH Medicine Residency program and is currently Associate Program Director of the Cardiovascular Medicine Fellowship at MGH. She is the 2018 recipient of both the inaugural MGH Medicine Residence Excellence in Mentoring Award and the Brian McGovern Memorial Teaching Award.
Millions of patients die annually from diseases that affect organs with limited regenerative capacity such as the heart. In contrast, zebrafish regenerate most organs naturally after injury. The goal of our research is to identify barriers to heart regeneration using the zebrafish as a model organism. Our lab is particularly interested in understanding how polyploidization (the increase in DNA content associated with the maturation of certain cell types) reduces the regenerative competence of cardiomyocytes. Our ultimate goal is to make fundamental discoveries that could be later used to design strategies to regenerate the human heart after myocardial infarction.
Dr. Gonzalez-Rosa received his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the Universidad Autonoma (Madrid) and the Spanish National Center for Cardiovascular Research in 2013. During his thesis work under the supervision of Dr. Nadia Mercader, he pioneered the development of a new cryoinjury model to study zebrafish heart regeneration. In October 2013, Dr. Gonzalez-Rosa joined the laboratory of Caroline and Geoffrey Burns at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. As a postdoctoral researcher, his research was supported by a Long-Term Postdoctoral Fellowship from EMBO and the Funds for Medical Discovery Award from ECOR-MGH. In June 2019, Dr. Gonzalez-Rosa joined the CVRC faculty after receiving the Career Development Award from the American Heart Association.
Our laboratory focuses on the development and application of novel technologies to understand cardiac arrhythmia and other cardiovascular related diseases using animal models. Specifically, we are interested in developing atrial fibrillation models, cardiac failure models, myocardial infarction models, and other cardiovascular disease animal models. We are also interested in developing and testing medical devices and drugs through pre-clinical studies.
I received my PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Iowa State University and then completed post-doctoral fellowships at Yale School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School. Previously I was a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and worked for several years with medical device companies.
Dr. Nguyen’s lab focuses on the development and clinical application of novel imaging techniques to evaluate the cardiovascular system including MRI, optical, and PET. Our primary research interests fall into three general areas, in which we develop, clinically translate, and clinically apply new imaging techniques to (1) evaluate myocardial remodeling and regeneration, (2) investigate myocardial metabolism, and (3) characterize vascular biology. The ultimate goal of our research is to empower scientists and clinicians with novel imaging technologies to answer fundamental questions in cardiovascular biology and pathophysiology.
Our lab designs and implements in-house imaging technologies on cutting-edge scanners at the MGH/HST Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging. We study both large animal models and patients on human clinical systems for immediate clinical translation.
Dr. Nguyen received his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of California Los Angeles in 2015 as a NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA pre-doctoral fellow. This led to his postdoctoral training at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and affiliated postdoctoral fellowship at MGH. Subsequently in early 2017, he was promoted to faculty at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Biomedical Imaging Research Institute. In October 2017, Dr. Nguyen joined the CVRC faculty after receiving the early career NIH NIBIB Trailblazer Award.
The Das laboratory focuses on discovering and characterizing plasma RNAs and extracellular vesicles that may serve as biomarkers for disease phenotypes and processes associated with heart failure and left ventricular remodeling. As part of the NIH Extracellular RNA Communication Consortium we have developed new bioinformatics tools and techniques to measure extracellular RNAs and study their functional role in animal and cell culture models.
In addition we have worked on cellular processes such as autophagy that play a role in cardiac remodeling and may be regulated by extracellular vesicles and RNA. Finally, we are developing novel RNA-based therapies based on our human translational discoveries for treating cardiac remodeling and heart failure.
The laboratory focuses on the role of immunity in cardiovascular disease, specifically in atherosclerosis and heart failure. Of particular interest are the supply and production of leukocytes by the hematopoietic system, and the signals that regulate hematopoiesis after ischemic injuries such as myocardial infarction or stroke. We described that after myocardial infarction, the spleen releases a large population of ready-made leukocytes that travel to the ischemic heart (Science 2009). We further found that after myocardial infarction, increased sympathetic nerve activity modulates the hematopoietic stem cell niche, activating migration and proliferation of myeloid progenitor cells. This, in turn, accelerated the progression of atherosclerosis (Nature 2012), possibly explaining why secondary infarcts are so common in patients. We are interested in identifying and blocking danger signals arising from ischemic injury, including neural signals that amplify systemic inflammation. The laboratory also develops and employs imaging approaches to sample biology non-invasively, using MR, nuclear, optical and hybrid imaging.
Cardiac arrhythmias are a leading cause of morbidity and sudden death, and collectively constitute a substantial public health problem. We are focused on understanding the inherited basis of cardiac arrhythmias and applying discoveries to improve outcomes in patients with these conditions. Our research spans disciplines involving human genetics and epidemiology. Several areas of active investigation include:
Determining the genetic basis of heritable arrhythmias: Using genotyping and sequencing techniques, we aim to determine genetic factors that underlie atrial fibrillation and arrhythmias associated with sudden cardiac arrest, including the long QT syndrome, Brugada syndrome, arrhythmogenic ventricular cardiomyopathy, catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia, dilated cardiomyopathy, left ventricular noncompaction, and others.
Characterizing the long-term course of atrial fibrillation: By characterizing the long-term course of patients with atrial fibrillation, and by identifying factors that associate with clinical outcomes, we aim to identify strategies to improve the care of patients with this common arrhythmia.
Improving risk stratification and treatment of individuals with inherited arrhythmias: We are studying approaches to tailor the care of patients with inherited arrhythmia conditions in order to minimize the risk of sudden cardiac arrest.