Mitra Esfandiarei has a specific goal: making a significant contribution to treatment of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) induced by a type of enterovirus (virus that comes into the body through the gastrointestinal tract). One such virus, coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3), causes severe cardiac and pancreatic diseases by directly injuring and killing heart muscle cells. In many cases, CVB3-infected myocarditis leads to cardiomyopathy (destruction of the heart muscle), for which the only available treatment is heart transplantation. Esfandiarei is studying how heart muscle cells can survive in the face of infection by CVB3. She hopes the research will enable novel treatment for viral-induced myocarditis and other cardiac conditions.