Dr. Patel receiving his award from Xander Wehrens, M.D., Ph.D., director, CVRI
Dr. Patel receiving his award from Xander Wehrens, M.D., Ph.D., director, CVRI

Dr. Vivek Patel, categorical research resident, won Best Poster in the Clinical Fellow/Resident category at the 2015 Cardiovascular Research Institute Symposium held Feb. 26.

His abstract titled, "Inactivation of p53 and p63 genes: Novel Strategies for Cardiac Regeneration in Ischemic Heart Disease," was based on his research conducted with mentors Dr. Todd K. Rosengart and Dr. Austin J. Cooney.

The lab's goal is to investigate novel techniques of cardiac regeneration through cellular reprogramming. Patel's primary project involves increasing the efficiency of reprogramming fibroblasts into cardiomyocytes through inactivation of genes regulating
cellular senescence, such as p53 and p63.

Through this technique and the addition of pertinent transcription factors, approximately 80 percent of fibroblasts can be reprogrammed into cardiomyocytes, as evidenced by flow cytometry. Further verification of this
strategy is pending.

After filing a patent for this novel strategy of cardiac regeneration last week, the results were presented at both CVRI and South Texas ACS conferences.