Heart disease researcher to deliver Emerging Scholars Lecture April 19

A researcher who focuses on heart disease and ‘organs on chip’ platforms for disease modeling will deliver the second Emerging Scholars in Engineering Lecture Tuesday, April 19.

Renita E. Horton

Renita E. Horton’s lecture — Engineering Approaches to Cardiovascular Diseases: Matters of the Heart – is at 1 p.m. in Stevenson Center 5, room 5326. Lunch will be provided.

Horton is an assistant research professor in the Department of Agriculture and Biological Engineering at Mississippi State University. She received her Ph.D. in engineering sciences with an emphasis in biomedical engineering from Harvard University. She served as a postdoctoral fellow at the Wyss Institute in Boston.

Horton’s graduate work focused on understanding the role of microenvironmental cues in heart development and heart disease.

In her lecture, Horton will discuss a cardiac dysfunction model using angiotensin II, a very potent chemical formed in the blood that causes muscles surrounding blood vessels to contract. This narrowing increases pressure within the vessels and can cause high blood pressure and, ultimately, heart failure. Angiotensin II was used in a heart-on-a-chip platform of engineered cardiac tissues that mimic the native structure of ventricular tissue.

“The goal of this study was to demonstrate that our system could effectively reprise features of cardiac dysfunction by testing the effects of ANG II on the form, function and pathological remodeling of engineered cardiac tissues. We found that ANG II exposure led to functional decline evident in arrhythmias,” said Horton, who also will share future directions of her team’s cardiac dysfunction research.

Horton is a member of the Biomedical Engineering Society, Materials Research Society, American Heart Association, and AAAS.

The intent of the Emerging Scholars in Engineering Lecture series is to showcase young people from underrepresented groups who are nearing completion or who have completed a doctoral degree. The School of Engineering launched the lecture series in February 2016.

Brenda Ellis, (615) 343-6314
Twitter @VUEngineering