Translational Laboratory for Cardiovascular Imaging and Therapy

Our laboratory focuses on the study of myocardial diseases, ranging from ischemia/reperfusion to heart failure, including that associated with cancer therapy-induced cardiotoxicity. Our studies span the molecular origins of disease and their manifestations at the macro-anatomical and physiological levels, and our group includes experts in molecular biology, clinical cardiology and cardiovascular imaging. Our evaluation of experimental animal models makes use of advanced imaging techniques that can also be applied to humans, strengthening the translational potential of our research. To exploit this potential, we work on multidisciplinary programs in close collaboration with hospitals and clinical researchers.

A major interest of the group is cardioprotection during myocardial infarction (MI). We have established models of MI in rodents and large animals, and we are using these to study the mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of various cardioprotective strategies, mainly related to modulation of the adrenergic system. We are pioneering the use state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging to better characterize the post-infarcted myocardial healing, combining large animal with clinical studies. In parallel with the development of clinical trials, for the last years we have been working on the cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for the protection seen in humans. For that endeavour we make use of in vitro and genetically modified small animal approaches. More recently we opened a new line devoted to the study of anthracycline-induced cardiotoxicity (AIC). Funded by the European Commission (ERC and the H2020 Health, demographic change and wellbeing programs), we are studying the mechanisms leading to AIC, we are developing novel early diagnostic markers of AIC, and testing new therapies to prevent AIC from experimental models to clinical trials. We are also interested in the study of nutritional approaches targeting cardiac metabolic substrate utilization as new means to treat heart failure. Right ventricular failure associated with pulmonary hypertension is another topic pursued in our lab.

Our group is leading international randomized clinical trials in the fields of MI and AIC, including the REBOOT, RESILIENCE and MAIDEN studies.