IU receives grant to study heart defect in infants

Indiana University School of Medicine researchers have received a Department of Defense Award of $200,000 to study a common congenital heart defect in infants called coarctation of the aorta.

The aorta is the main artery that carries blood away from the heart to the rest of the body. Coarctation of the aorta is a congenital heart condition where there is a narrowing of the aorta that obstructs blood flow to vital organs. It could develop by itself or in a combination with other heart defects, including along with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, one of the most severe forms of congenital heart defects.

Dr. Benjamin Landis, assistant professor of pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Cardiology, and his collaborator, Yunlong Liu, director of the IU Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, plan to use single-cell RNA sequencing of aortic tissues that are removed during cardiothoracic surgery of infants with severe coarctation of the aorta to learn more about the cells that make up the defect, which they hope could ultimately lead to new medical treatment options instead of surgery.