The Cardiovascular Research Institute Center has six major research focus areas. See the focus themed areas listed below along with the associated Baylor College of Medicine faculty.

Research Cores

Baylor College of Medicine operates over 20 Advanced Technology Core Laboratories. Several of these cores are particularly useful for the generation of models of cardiovascular disease or phenotyping thereof.

Mouse Phenotyping Core

The Mouse Phenotyping Core offers a variety of state-of-the-art equipment for phenotyping of mouse models of CV disease within the AALAC accredited animal facility on the main Baylor campus. Services offered include ultrasound, mouse monitor-S ECG and pulse oximetry, DSI telemetry for blood pressure and ECG, and a 7.0T Bruker PharmaScan MRI. [View image below].

Optical Imaging and Vital Microscopy Core

The Optical Imaging and Vital Microscopy Core offers equipment, training and support for vital and intravital imaging studies in cells, tissues, embryos and live mice. Available technologies include confocal microscopy, line scanning confocal microscopy, multispectral microscopy and two-photon microscopy using microscopes designed for live cell and live animal imaging. [View examples below.]

Additional Imaging Services

MRI images of mouse hearts.

Additional imaging services are available through the Baylor/Texas Children's Small Animal Imaging Facility at Texas Children's Hospital and Mouse MRI Core at main Baylor College of Medicine. Investigators can use the high-throughput 7.0T Bruker PharmaScan MRI imaging system through the Mouse Phenotyping Core (see above), or if research projects require a higher field system, they may use the 9.4T Bruker Advance MRI imaging system in Dr. Pautler's lab.

Imaging paradigms [view images to the right] include T1 and T2 measurements, perfusion imaging, MEMRI Ca transport measurements, fat assessment, strain measurements, magnetization transfer contrast (MTC), and soon imaging of cardiac fibrosis using spectroscopy.

Isolated Heart Physiology and Optical Mapping

Image of a Harvard Apparatus IHSR working heart system

The CVRI has developed a core for Isolated Heart Physiology and Optical Mapping. These services are still being developed in collaboration with Dr. Wehrens’ laboratory. The lab currently has a Harvard Apparatus IHSR working heart system [view image to the right] that allows for physiological perfusion and measurement of isolated rodent hearts. The system contains high fidelity pressure and flow probes, and an aortic flow module. The system includes a computer with data acquisition hardware and software to allow for data capture and analysis. The SciMedia high-speed cardiac mapping system is specifically designed for high speed imaging of fluorescence sensitive dyes in different animal models. It contains a MiCAM Ultima-L CMOS based imaging system (Brainvision Inc.) with dual high-speed camera/processors, and tandem lens fluorescent microscope with stereoscope objective with lenses optimized for voltage and calcium imaging. A fluorescent splitter allows for dual wavelength imaging or dual-staining with multiple probes such as voltage-sensitive dyes and calcium indicators.