Joshua W. Vincentz, PhD
Research Assistant Professor
Primary Appointment: Department of Pediatrics
- Postdoctoral Fellowship: Indiana University School of Medicine Cancer Research Institute, Indianapolis, IN
- PhD: University of Texas – Health Science Center/M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Current Research Interests:
The heart of an estimated 1 of every 100 newborns is affected by a potentially lethal class of birth defect, known as a congenital heart defect (CHD). My research program incorporates in vitro cell culture techniques, mouse genetic models, and the power of in silico bioinformatics to understand the transcriptional mechanisms that regulate cell specification within the developing heart. The related transcription factors HAND1 and HAND2 have both been implicated in human CHDs, the latter contributing to the variably penetrant 4q syndromes. In mice, Hand1 and Hand2 expression overlaps within the developing outflow tract, a transient, embryonic structure that ultimately forms the connection between the ventricles and both the aorta and pulmonary arteries. Preliminary findings indicate that these two factors genetically interact within the tissues of the outflow tract. Hand1 and Hand2 expression also overlaps within the developing ventricles. Additional studies utilizing unique genetic reagents have interrogated the overlapping roles of Hand1 and 2 during development of the left ventricle. These studies show that defects in cell specification caused by the ablation of both HAND factors are deleterious to left ventricular function and neonatal survival. My ongoing studies seek to place Hand1 and 2 in the context of broader molecular circuits during cardiac development. Placement of these factors within a complete developmental context will provide avenues for diagnosis and therapeutic intervention in patients afflicted with CHDs. These studies will not only expand our understanding of the programs central to cardiac cell fate determination and provide intriguing novel insights into potential mechanisms underlying CHDs, they also hold the potential to inform therapeutic strategies with which to treat the diseased adult heart.
Address: 1044 West Walnut Street, R4-W351, Indianapolis, IN 46202