University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine - Interdisciplinary Biomedical Graduate Program
Research interest in the Tsang lab includes modeling congenital heart disease (CHD) using zebrafish. CHD is the most prevalent structural birth defect comprising of almost 1% of all live births. The causes of CHD are not completely understood, but current evidence points to gene variants. Using genome editing approaches the Tsang lab has generated zebrafish mutations in candidate CHD genes. Studying the effects of these gene variants will reveal the mechanism of CHDs and offer insights into how heart defects arise. Another focus of the Tsang lab is to understand the molecular basis of heart regeneration. Unlike mammals, the adult zebrafish can readily regenerate damaged cardiac tissue through activation of cardiomyocyte dedifferentiation and proliferation. Transcriptome analysis have identified several factors that are activated in response to injury. One gene, foxm1, a forkhead transcription factor has been shown to be a key regulator of cardiomyocyte proliferation in response to cardiac injury. Future studies will elucidate how these factors are coordinated in regenerating heart tissue.