Neuroprotection in congenital heart disease

Research work in brain development for patients with congenital heart diseaseCongenital heart disease is the leading birth defect. The majority of children with severe/complex cardiac anomalies now suffer from significant neurodevelopmental delay as a consequence of their congenital heart disease. Research in our laboratory is directed toward addressing cellular/molecular and developmental mechanisms underlying neurological impairment due to cardiac anomalies and the subsequent cardiac surgery. To address these questions, we have highly innovative model systems including in vitro neural stem/progenitor cultures, ex vivo rodent slice bypass model, in vivo rodent/porcine hypoxia model, and in vivo porcine cardiopulmonary bypass model, and employ a variety of state-of-the-art techniques, such as neurosphere assays, in vivo cell fate analysis, and imaging-based live cell tracking. From these studies we hope to gain greater insight into the developing brain in congenital heart disease and develop new treatment approach aimed at maximizing intellectual development and minimizing neurological injury in these children.