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Blick über die rechte Schulter eines Forschers, der mit einer langen Pipette eine Flüssigkeit in ein kleines Glasgefäß füllt.

Cardiac mechanobiology and sex differences

Head of Lab: Claudia Crocini

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Research Projects Crocini´s lab

Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death for both men and women worldwide, yet the female heart has been traditionally overlooked in cardiac research at any level. Differences between male and female hearts are present even in healthy individuals and include difference of heart rates, mechanical signaling, metabolism, gene expression, and epigenetics. Men and women also exhibit distinct disease risks and symptoms, which cannot solely be attributed to hormonal differences. Despite an overwhelming body of evidence that demonstrates cellular and subcellular sex-dependent differences in the human heart, biological sex of cells used in in laboratory studies is rarely taken into consideration or even reported. Clearly, there is a need to reform cell-based research to consider biological sex, in order to enhance the accuracy of predictive modeling, animal studies, and clinical trials, and in turn, effectively treat all patients with cardiovascular diseases.

The focus of the Crocini lab is to study sex-dependent differences in human cardiac cells leveraging on stem cell technologies, tissue engineering, and computational modeling. The group will combine a variety of experimental assays, such as voltage and calcium imaging, contractility measurements, and next-generation sequencing, to identify sex-specific signatures at the basis of cardiac cell function. The overarching goal of the Crocini’s Lab is to discover novel regulatory mechanisms of cardiac function to enhance the development of sex-specific treatments for cardiovascular disease in humans.