Researcher | Research Overview
Adult mammalian hearts lack the ability to regenerate. In contrast, the newborn mouse heart can effectively regrow the damaged tissue. Understanding how neonatal mouse hearts regenerate following injury provides an exciting new inroad into the possible mechanisms of cardiac regeneration and repair in adults. Dr. Cui aims to use systems-level approaches to discover the basic biological mechanisms underlying neonatal heart regeneration and leverage this information to identify therapeutic targets and translate these findings into studies of human cells and therapies for heart disease patients. Dr. Cui’s research uncovered previously unknown cellular components specific to neonatal heart regeneration, which have the potential to open up new areas of research in regeneration and beyond. Dr. Cui’s research combines genetics, single-cell and spatial transcriptomics, tissue 3D imaging, cardiac injury models in mice, high-throughput screening, as well as cardiac (patho)physiology. The long-term goal of her research program is to understand the mechanisms underlying the distinct reparative abilities of different cardiac cell types during neonatal heart regeneration vs. pathological remodeling in adults, and ultimately to generate a comprehensive cellular and molecular blueprint for targeting cardiac regeneration in adult humans.