Shaad Ahmad, an assistant professor of biology at Indiana State University, hoped that their findings might eventually help doctors detect and mitigate patients’ susceptibility to CHDs.
The American Heart Association has recently awarded him with a grant of $231,000 to conduct the research, reports State Magazine.com
After receiving the grant, Ahmad, who completed a PhD at Stanford University’s developmental biology department, said: “I am excited, I am thrilled. I think it is a very interesting project and…the data we intend to acquire from this will help the biomedical and medical communities.”
Also, their research has another long-term goal.
Ahmad said: “What we really want to do — and this is probably 30 years in the future — is to be able to take some of your cells and if you have a bad ticker, grow you a completely new heart.
“But in order to do that, we have to understand the entire genetic regulatory network that gives rise to the heart.”
He uses a surprising model for studying heart development — the fruit flies, whose hearts have “many of the same genes and regulatory pathways” as the human hearts, making it the perfect test subject for his current studies.
The researcher said: “…we move on from flies to mice….and then we will shift to primates and eventually to humans. Note, however, that I said that this is roughly… 30 years in the future.”
He added that their research at this point in time was giving them diagnostic cues for CHDs or late-onset heart diseases.
An alumnus of Maple Leaf International School in Dhaka, Ahmad had also been employed as a research fellow at the genetics division of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and at the Harvard Medical School.