Support Us

Past Research Grants

May 2014 – Chimerism of Cardiac Myocytes in Transplanted Heart

Knowledge discovery related to the host DNA replacing donor DNA in a transplanted heart.

Primary Investigator: Shriprasad Deshpande

Institution:  Emory University School of Medicine

July 2014 – Improving Late Survival after Pediatric Heart Transplant through Improved Understanding of Post-Tx Myocardial Fibrosis
April 2015 – Immunogenetic Markers of Extreme Clinical Phenotypes of Post-Transplant Lymphoproliferative Disorder

Early detection of specific cancer that can occur with a compromised immune system.

Primary Investigator: Upton Allen

Institution: Hospital for Sick Children – University of Toronto

Posttransplant Lymphoproliferative Disorder in Pediatric Patients: Characteristics of Disease in EBV-seropositive Recipients

July 2015 – Prevention of Homograft Induced Cardiac Allograft Vasculopathy (CAV) in Pediatric Heart Transplantation

Research into one of the major factors limiting long-term survival after a heart transplant.

Primary Investigator: Jean Kwun

Institution: Duke University Medical Center

July 2015 – The Role of Endogenous, Antigen-Specific, Auto- and Alloreactive Tregs in Transplantation Tolerance

Research of the role that a very specific cell plays in the rejection of a transplanted heart.

Primary Investigator: James Young

Institution: University of Chicago 

January 2016 – 2D Speckle Tracking Echocardiography for Non-Invasive Surveillance of Rejection and Coronary Disease in Pediatric Heart Transplant Recipients

Testing the efficacy of an alternative non-invasive method of detecting rejection.

Primary Investigator: Justin Godown

Institution: Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University

May 2016 – Validation of a Novel Non-Invasive Assay for the Detection of Heart Rejection

Testing the efficacy of an alternative non-invasive method of detecting rejection.

Primary Investigator: Steven Greenway

Institution: University of Calgary

Abnormal Myocardial Contractility After Pediatric Heart Transplantation by Cardiac MRI

Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Transplanted Pediatric Heart as a Potential Predictor of Rejection

June 2016 – Enduring Hearts Pediatric Cardiac Research Fund

Mike Davis Lab-Laboratory opened its doors in June 2006 at Emory University as part of the joint Biomedical Engineering program at Emory University School of Medicine and Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Davis is an associate professor in both the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Division of Cardiology at Emory University School of Medicine.

Currently, the only major treatment for heart failure is transplantation. However, it is estimated that less than 30% of patients survive to receive their new hearts. The local cell death following myocardial infarction plays a major role in the progression of cardiac dysfunction. Our laboratory focuses on various aspects of cardiac regeneration and preservation using molecular-based and biomaterials-based approaches to restoring function after cardiac injury.

Primary Investigator: Mike Davis

Institution: Children’s Hospital of Atlanta, Biomedical Engineering program at Emory University School of Medicine and Georgia Institute of Technology

July 2016 – Decision Making in Adolescents and Young Adults Pre and Post-Heart Transplantation

Primary Investigator: Melissa K. Cousino, PhD

Institution: University of Michigan Medical School 

Medical and end-of-life decision making in adolescents’ pre-heart transplant: A descriptive pilot study

July 2016 – Contribution of Innate-Like B Cells to Human Cardiac Allograft Vasculopathy (CAV)

Research into one of the major factors limiting long-term survival after a heart transplant.

Primary Investigator: Debanjana Chatterjee

Institution: Columbia University Medical Center

July 2016 – Novel Tolerogenic CD34/MSC Di-Chimeric Cell Therapy in Vascularized Composite Allograft and Heart Transplant

Research into therapy for one of the major factors limiting long-term survival after a heart transplant.

Primary Investigator: Maria Siemionow

Institution: The University of Illinois at Chicago

January 2017 – Regulating Glycosaminoglycans in Transplant Vascular Disease and Chronic Rejection

Research into therapy for one of the major factors limiting long-term survival after a heart transplant.

Primary Investigator: Alexandra R. Lucas

Institution: Arizona State University at Tempe

January 2017 – Roles of Cardiac and Hepatic Macrophage Subsets in Immune Tolerance

Research of the role that a very specific cell group plays in the rejection of a transplanted heart.

Primary Investigator: Dilini Soysa

Institution: The University of Washington at Seattle

July 2017 – Approval of Grant Application, Cardiac MRI Assessment of Rejection and Cardiac Allograft Vasculopathy in Pediatric Heart Transplant Recipients

Testing the efficacy of an alternative non-invasive method of detecting rejection.

Primary Investigator: Jonathan Harvey Soslow

Institution: Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University

July 2017 – Targeted Ex Vivo Nanotherapy for Use in Cardiac Transplantation

Research into delivering a very small amount of medication to a targeted specific location in the heart in lieu of broader anti-rejection medications.

Primary Investigator: Kunal Patel

Institution: Medical University of South Carolina

July 2017 – MicroRNA Biomarkers of Allograft Rejection in Cardiac Transplantation

 Testing the efficacy of an alternative non-invasive method of detecting rejection.

Primary Investigator: Palak Shah

Institution: Inova Fairfax Hospital

Summary: There have been a number of exciting milestones accomplished since our last report. We have completed sequencing of the circulating, microRNA (circ-miR) transcriptome in serial plasma samples from 109 heart transplant recipients (42 with rejection and 65 controls) from the Genomic Research Alliance for Transplantation (GRAfT) and Stanford University. Our sequencing of the microRNAs was high-quality, and we found that heart transplant recipients routinely express ~450 microRNAs in their blood. Since microRNA profiles are known to vary based on age, sex, race and body size, we adjusted for these patient characteristics in our analyses. When looking at patients who develop antibody-mediated rejection (AMR), we found 29 circ-miRs that were dysregulated (either go up or down with rejection). For patients with T-cell mediated rejection (TCMR), we found 14 dysregulated circ-miRs.

Since we performed sequencing, we were able to look at the microRNAs from our analyses and prior
publications evaluating microRNAs as markers or mediators of rejection in solid organ transplantation. Using statistical analyses, we created circ-miR panels to non-invasively diagnose both AMR and TCMR with excellent performance as a biomarker of rejection.

Through the generous support of the Enduring Hearts Foundation and American Heart Association, we have been to generate sufficient preliminary data from our experiments and have now secured independent funding from the NIH to continue this work. We remain committed to fully realizing the potential of these circ-miRs to transform the management of adult and pediatric cardiac transplant recipients.

July 2017 – Functional Consequences of Antigen Specificity in CMV-Responsive T-cells

Functional consequences of antigen specificity in CMV-responsive T-cells.

Primary Investigator: Lauren Higdon

Institution: Stanford University School of Medicine

September 2017 – En Bloc Donor Thymus Co-transplantation to Achieve Tolerance in Pediatric Heart Recipients

Research into modifying pediatric transplantation method to improve the host’s acceptance of the transplanted heart.

Primary Investigator: Jane Miha O

Institution: Massachusetts General Hospital at Harvard Medical School 

September 2017 – Defining Tissue-Resident Endothelial Heterogeneity and Plasticity after Inflammatory Insult in Solid Organ Transplantation

Research of the role that a very specific inflammatory response plays in the rejection of a transplanted heart.

Primary Investigator: Nicole M Valenzuela

Institution: the University of California at Los Angeles 

December 2017 – Cell-free DNA for the Diagnosis of Rejection After Heart Transplantation

Testing the efficacy of an alternative non-invasive method of detecting rejection.

Primary Investigator: Steven Greenway

Institution: University of Calgary

July 2018 – Antibody Mediated Allograft Injury Following Pediatric Heart Transplantation: Mechanistic Insights and Predictive Modeling

This proposal will be an important component of our ongoing efforts to understand the factors affecting longer-term graft survival with the anticipation that these efforts will result in future interventions to maximize graft survival in children receiving heart transplants, consistent with the mission of the Enduring Hearts Foundation.

Primary Investigator: Stephen K Webber

Institution: Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University

July 2018 – Developing a Comprehensive Biomedical Imaging Informatics Tool for Precision Care of Pediatric Heart Transplant Patients

The goal of this pilot project is to develop clinical decision support systems (CDSSs) that can assist in making rejection staging decisions by quantifying morphological properties in biopsy slides for heart transplant patients.

Primary Investigators: May Dongmei Wang, Ph.D.,  Shriprasad R. Deshpande, M.D., M.S.

Institutions: Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University

Progress Report – Developing a Comprehensive Biomedical Imaging Informatics Tool for Precision Care of Pediatric Heart Transplant Patients

October 2018 - Integrating Multi-parametric Echocardiography with Computer Assisted Analysis in Detection for Early Allograft Rejection in Pediatric Heart Transplant Recipients: A Pilot Prospective Multi-center Study

Primary Investigators: Biagio Pietra MD, and Bethany Wisotzkey, MD

Institution: University of Florida

October 2018 - The Causal Role of Axl in the Acceleration of Cardiac Allograft Vasculopathy

Primary Investigator: K Glinton MD

Institution: Northwestern University, Chicago

October 2018 - Continous Flow Pediatric Artificial Heart

Primary Investigator: C. Fox

Institution: Drexel University

October 2018 - Strategies to Improve Early Injury and PromoteLong Term Tolerance to Post Transplant Outcomes

Primary Investigator: M. Sleiman

Institution: Medical College of the University of South Carolina

2019 - Leukotriene B4: A Potential Mediator and Biomarker for Cardiac Allograft Vasculopathy

Primary Investigator:  Kiran Khush, MD, MAC, FACC

Institution: Stanford University

2019 - Circulating microRNAs: Biomarker for Acute Graft Rejection in Pediatric Heart Transplant Recipients
2019 - CDI22 Targeted Theragnostic for Detection and Prevention of Heart Transplant Rejection

Primary Investigator: Dave Matthews, PhD

Institution: Georgia Insititute of Technology

2019 - Plasma Induced Transcription Analysis in Pediatric Heart Transplantation as an Assessment of Rejection

Primary Investigator: Alexander Raskin, MD

Institution: University of Wisconsin

2019 - Implementation and Effectiveness Evaluation of the iPeer2Peer Support Mentorship Program

Primary Investigator: Dr. Samantha Anthony

Institution: Hospital for Sick Children – Toronto

2019 - Endothelial Barrier in Allograft Rejection and Tolerance

Primary Investigator: Austin Schenck, MD

Institution: Ohio State University

Lay Summary: 

The overarching goal in the laboratory is to improve long-term outcomes in heart transplantation such that transplantation will restore normal life expectancy.  Immunosuppression is necessary following transplantation but current best-available drugs have undesirable and toxic side effects that shorten the life-span of recipients.  Researchers are hoping to replace traditional pharmaceuticals with adoptive immunotherapy.  Adoptive immunotherapy is the deliberate transfer of specific cell populations that can turn off anti-graft immune responses using natural regulatory mechanisms that are not harmful to the recipient.

In work made possible by Enduring Hearts and the American Heart Association researchers have identified a unique cell population with great potential in adoptive immunotherapy.  They then learned how to isolate these cells, keep them alive in culture, and expand their numbers and later used modern genomic techniques to analyze all of the genes expressed by these cells which gives us a picture of the ‘tools’ that these cells use to turn off immune responses.  The laboratory then sequenced specific receptors expressed on the surface of these cells that, when activated, shift these cells into an active state.  Researchers are now beginning to test what ‘dose’ of these cells will be required to allow long-term acceptance of heart transplants without traditional pharmaceuticals.

2019 - The Trend of Obesity and Dyslipidemia in Pediatric Heart Transplant Population and it’s Associated Outcomes

Primary Investigator: Carmel Bogle, MD

Institution: Harvard University

2019 - Novel Approaches to Improve the Availability and/or the Quality of Pediatric Donor Hearts

Primary Investigator: James Reynolds, PhD

Institution: Case Western Reserve University

2019 - Back to the Future: Expanding Opportunities in Pediatric ABO-Incompatible Heart Transplants

Primary Investigator: Lori West, MD, DPhil.

Institution: University of Alberta, Edmonton

2020 - Ex-situ Heart Perfusion for Optimization of Pediatric Donor Organ Utilization: Attitudes, Feasibility, and methods

Primary Investigator: Dr. Darren Freed, Dr. Jennifer Conway

Institution: Stollery Children’s Hospital, University of Alberta