Fate of the Heart: Researchers Track Cellular Events Leading to Cardiac Regeneration

Studies in zebrafish reveal abundant potential source for repair of injured heart muscle

In a study published in the June 19 online edition of the journal Nature, a scientific team led by researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine visually monitored the dynamic cellular events that take place when cardiac regeneration occurs in zebrafish after cardiac ventricular injury. Their findings provide evidence that various cell lines in the heart are more plastic, or capable of transformation into new cell types, than previously thought. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Dr. Neil Chi

Dr. Neil Chi

Principal investigator of the study is Neil Chi, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology and member of the Institute for Genomic Medicine.

Chi directs the UC San Diego Cardiovascular Genetics Clinic and Cardiac Tissue Harvest and Biorepository Core.

In 2010, he received an NIH Director’s New Innovator Award for his study of cardiac regeneration in zebrafish. He is currently the principal investigator on that project and two R01 grant projects for research in cardiac morphogenesis and cardiac conduction development and disease.

Citation for the report: Zhang R, Han P, Yang H, Ouyang K, Lee D et al. In vivo cardiac reprogramming contributes to zebrafish heart regeneration. Nature (2013) doi:10.1038/nature12322.  |  Read the full text (UCSD only)

More Information About Dr. Chi:

Cancer Cells Co-opt Immune Response to Escape Destruction

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report that tumor cells use stress signals to subvert responding immune cells, exploiting them to actually boost conditions beneficial to cancer growth. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Dr. Maurizio ZanettiThe report comes from the laboratory of Dr. Maurizio Zanetti (left), with graduate student Navin R. Mahadevan as lead author and Dr. Zanetti as senior author.

Maurizio Zanetti, MD, is emeritus professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology and director of the Laboratory of Immunology at the UCSD Moores Cancer Center.

Dr. Zanetti is the director of tumor immunology for the UCSD Center for Immunology, Infection and Inflammation.  He directs the immunology course in the Biomedical Sciences graduate program.

Drs. Zanetti and Mahadevan published a Science Magazine Perspectives article on the connection between immune surveillance and chromosomal chaos in September.

On the PLOS ONE report, coauthors from Dr. Zanetti’s laboratory are undergraduate student Veronika Anufreichik, graduate student Jeffrey J. Rodvold and research associate Kevin T. Chiu.

Read the report in PLOS ONE

Citation for the report:  Mahadevan NR, Anufreichik V, Rodvold JJ, Chiu KT, Sepulveda H, et al. (2012) Cell-Extrinsic Effects of Tumor ER Stress Imprint Myeloid Dendritic Cells and Impair CD8+ T Cell Priming. PLoS ONE 7(12): e51845. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0051845

More Information:

  • Science Magazine Perspectives article, September 2012:

Zanetti M, Mahadevan NR. Immune Surveillance from Chromosomal Chaos? Science 337 (6102): 1616-1617, 28 September 2012. DOI: 10.1126/science.1228464.

  • Other UCSD news stories about Dr. Zanetti’s work:
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Chronic Stress Spawns Protein Aggregates Linked to Alzheimer’s

Repeated stress triggers the production and accumulation of insoluble tau protein aggregates inside the brain cells of mice, say researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine in a new study published in the March 26 Online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Dr. Wylie Vale Dr. Wylie Vale was one of two Salk Institute for Biological Studies researchers who contributed to this research. Dr. Vale, who held an adjunct professorship in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, collaborated on numerous research projects at UC San Diego. He passed away on January 6, 2012.  |  Read memorial

Read abstract of study report

Citation for the study report: Rissman RA, Staup MA, Lee AR, Justice NJ, Rice KC, Vale W, Sawchenko PE. Corticotropin-releasing factor receptor-dependent effects of repeated stress on tau phosphorylation, solubility, and aggregation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Apr 17;109(16):6277-82. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1203140109. Epub 2012 Mar 26.