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Research Day features heart tissue regeneration researcher as keynote speaker

  • April 1, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS -- Prescription drugs that prompt a damaged human heart to repair itself are in the pipeline, says an Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis researcher who has spent years studying heart tissue regeneration.

Research and creative activity at IUPUI is the focus of the 5th annual IUPUI Research Day on Friday, April 5 in the IUPUI Campus Center, 420 University Blvd.

For the past two decades, Loren Field, Ph.D., professor of medicine and pediatrics at IU School of Medicine, and his research colleagues have simultaneously travelled down two roads in their search to find a way to eventually restore the health of seriously ill people with damaged hearts.

“One is to make the myoctes – the heart cells that cause the heart to beat -- --that survive (a heart attack) to proliferate and fill in the holes,’ Field said. “The other is to add cells from alternative sources to increase muscle mass.”

Field will discuss his journey and what he believes the future holds during his keynote speech at the IUPUI 2013 Research Day.

Research Day, sponsored by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, includes two poster sessions showcasing the research of IUPUI students (graduate, professional and undergraduate) and faculty, recognition of the 2013 Research Frontiers Trailblazer Award recipients, and a networking reception.

Field’s presentation will occur from 9:45 to 10:15 a.m. during the morning plenary session of Research Day which has “Imagine the Future” as its theme.

Those heart tissue growth medications should be on the market in the future, Field said.

“In the field in general, there will be, I’m sure, drugs that will be able to make heart muscle grow again,” the professor said. “We have some drugs now that actually do that (make cells grow), but you can’t get the specificity for local activity.

“Studies are out there that have identified drugs that if you have the cells in a dish and you put the drugs in the dish and the cells will start to grow.”

Research Day, open to the public, offers something of interest to both on-campus and off-campus visitors, the keynote speaker said.

For university students who are trying to make career choices, it could prove the source of inspiration to go down the pathway of research. High school advanced placement students with an interest in research careers could also gain from attending the event, Field said.

Business people looking for life and health sciences research investment opportunities could also find attendance profitable.

“Heart failure is such a huge fiscal burden on society from the standpoint of a company positioning itself to help people, and to make money, the market share is huge,” Field said.

Registration for Research Day, free of charge, is available online.

Diane Brown
Etta Ward