Science Friday Talks

KCU-Kansas City

Get up-to-the-minute research discoveries on hot topics, such as Alzheimer’s disease, biological warfare and cancer.

Science Friday Talks

KCU-Kansas City

Get up-to-the-minute research discoveries on hot topics, such as Alzheimer’s disease, biological warfare and cancer.

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Friday, Feb. 17, 2017
Noon-1 p.m.
Ricci Auditorium, KCU Campus
1750 Independence Avenue
Kansas City, Mo.

Stress-caused Mess in Aged Hearts

Dr. Xun Ai, Associate Professor, Department of Molecular Biophysics and Physiology, Rush University Medical Center

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained arrhythmia and a major public health problem that currently lacks adequate therapies. AF increases morbidity and mortality, in part by raising heart failure and stroke propensity. Advanced age is the major risk factor for AF. Consequently, the burden of AF is growing exponentially as the mean age of many populations around the world increases.
By using systematic electrophysiological and biochemical approaches, we recently discovered and reported for the first time that activated JNK is critical in AF development in the aged heart. Results of our research have filled this important knowledge gap by identifying stress- response JNK as an important regulator in age-related AF genesis.
Currently, we are further delineating the electrophysiological and molecular mechanism underlying JNK2 control of the CaMKII-AF relationship and explore the translation of this new target into potential clinical applications.

About Dr. Ai
My research is focused on understanding the mechanisms of cardiac arrhythmias in pathologically altered hearts (e.g. heart failure, alcoholic, obese, aging). I established my own research lab in 2008. Over the years, I have extended my expertise in cellular electrophysiology to several state-of-the-art electrophysiological techniques in intact hearts in collaboration with a number of outstanding scientists in the field.

To date, my laboratory has accumulate extensive experience with not only updated molecular biochemical techniques but also many cutting-edge cardiac electrophysiological techniques for intact hearts, including dual channel optical mapping, confocal Ca imaging, and arrhythmia in vivo induction using electrical pacing. Most of these techniques are applied in the studies in my laboratory.

In addition, I have over 10 years of experience with procurement of cardiac tissue and isolation of myocytes from human donor hearts and have served as the Core Director of the donor heart tissue facilities at three different universities. As the current Director of the Human Cardiac Tissue Facilities at RUMC, I am working with the Gift of Hope, the Organ & Tissue Donor Network for the State of Illinois, to obtain human donor hearts for ongoing projects in my laboratory.

Please contact Gwen Dodd in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at gdodd@kcumb.edu with questions.