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Center for Advancing Therapeutic Discovery (CAT-D) | Overview


CAT-D’s mission is to develop microphysiological systems and use them for pre-clinical therapeutic discovery. These patient-specific “disease-in-a-dish” models will allow candidate therapies to be tested on disease tissues developed from a patient’s cells, thereby expediting pre-clinical studies and de-risking clinical trials.

Cardiac disease models

Our lead program is for cardiac disease. We have developed “heart-on-a-chip” models for cardiac contraction and cardiac arrhythmia.

Representative publications

  1. Bezzerides, V. J., Caballero, A., Wang, S., Ai, Y., Hylind, R. J., Lu, F., Heims-Waldron, D. A., Chambers, K. D., Zhang, D., Abrams, D. J. & Pu, W. T. Gene Therapy for Catecholaminergic Polymorphic Ventricular Tachycardia by Inhibition of Ca2+/Calmodulin-Dependent Kinase II. Circulation (2019). doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.118.038514
  2. Park, S.-J., Zhang, D., Qi, Y., Li, Y., Lee, K. Y., Bezzerides, V. J., Yang, P., Xia, S., Kim, S. L., Liu, X., Lu, F., Pasqualini, F. S., Campbell, P. H., Geva, J., Roberts, A. E., Kleber, A. G., Abrams, D. J., Pu, W. T. & Parker, K. K. Insights Into the Pathogenesis of Catecholaminergic Polymorphic Ventricular Tachycardia From Engineered Human Heart Tissue. Circulation 140, 390–404 (2019).
  3. MacQueen, L. A., Sheehy, S. P., Chantre, C. O., Zimmerman, J. F., Pasqualini, F. S., Liu, X., Goss, J. A., Campbell, P. H., Gonzalez, G. M., Park, S.-J., Capulli, A. K., Ferrier, J. P., Kosar, T. F., Mahadevan, L., Pu, W. T. & Parker, K. K. A tissue-engineered scale model of the heart ventricle. Nat Biomed Eng 2, 930–941 (2018).
  4. Wang, G., McCain, M. L., Yang, L., He, A., Pasqualini, F. S., Agarwal, A., Yuan, H., Jiang, D., Zhang, D., Zangi, L., Geva, J., Roberts, A. E., Ma, Q., Ding, J., Chen, J., Wang, D. Z., Li, K., Wang, J., Wanders, R. J., Kulik, W., Vaz, F. M., Laflamme, M. A., Murry, C. E., Chien, K. R., Kelley, R. I., Church, G. M., Parker, K. K. & Pu, W. T. Modeling the mitochondrial cardiomyopathy of Barth syndrome with induced pluripotent stem cell and heart-on-chip technologies. Nat. Med.20, 616–623 (2014).



    William T. Pu, MD

    William T. Pu, MD

    William Pu, MD, directs Basic and Translational Cardiovascular Research in the Department of Cardiology at Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Pu is the Aldo R. Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. He is a board-certified pediatric cardiologist and is the PI of a basic and translational research lab developing therapies for pediatric cardiovascular disease. Please visit the Pu Lab website for more information.


    Kevin Kit Parker, PhD

    Kevin Kit Parker, PhD

    Kevin Kit Parker, PhD, is the Tarr Family Professor of Bioengineering and Applied Physics. He directs the Disease Biophysics Group at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. His group uses cell biology and tissue engineering to understand disease pathobiology affecting the heart, brain, muscle, and lungs. Please visit the Disease Biophysics group website for more information.