MSFHR researcher grows first heart cells that mimic arrhythmia

2017 Health Professional-Investigator award recipient Dr. Zachary Laksman and his team have grown the first heart cells that can mimic abnormal heart rhythms.

Approximately 350,000 Canadians have atrial fibrillation, an irregular heart beat (or arrhythmia) that increases your risk of stroke.[1] Over the next 40 years, the prevalence of AF is expected to double, but currently the medications available are limited by a lack of efficacy and serious side effects.

This is the issue that cardiologist and 2017 Health Professional-Investigator award recipient Dr. Zachary Laksman is working to solve. Laksman and his team at the Centre for Heart Lung Innovation have grown the first heart cells that can mimic abnormal heart rhythms.

Using this new model, the team hope to understand which drugs work best for people with heart arrhythmia, and which patients would benefit from one drug versus another. The ultimate goal is to tailor therapies for AF patients based on their genetic makeup to improve treatment efficacy.

Laksman is one of MSFHR’s inaugural Health Professional-Investigator award recipients. A program that is designed to decrease the gap between health research and its implementation by supporting health professionals who are actively involved in patient care, conduct and apply research relevant to health and/or the health system. The study is published in Scientific Reports


The Centre for Heart Lung Innovation is looking to co-fund an outstanding heart/lung/critical care researcher through MSFHR's 2018 Scholar competition. If you are applying for a 2018 Scholar award and are interested in this co-funding opportunity please your application includes relevant keywords.

[1] Atrial fibrillation. Ottawa: Heart and Stroke Foundation. Available here.