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Ann C. Foley, PhD
The Role of TGFβ-Activated Kinase in Sinoatrial Node Differentiation
Assistant Professor, Greenberg Division of Cardiology, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York
2 Riverside Circle, Roanoke, VA 24016
Cardiomyocytes are a heterogeneous population of contractile cells, each with unique markers, morphologies, and physiologies. Yet the mechanisms that direct myocardial cells to specific subtypes are poorly understood. Dr. Foley will report that mouse embryoid bodies overexpressing the TGFβ-activated kinase (TAK1/Map3K7) signaling pathway faithfully activate the transcriptional program that directs sinoatrial node (SAN) differentiation, and that all cardiac cells in these cultures adopt markers, cellular morphologies, and electrophysiological characteristics of the SAN. This differentiation protocol will have broad implications for the study of SAN differentiation and physiology and for developing bioengineered grafts used in regenerative medicine.