Additional information about this network, including datasets and any atlases assembled so far, can be found on our Data Portal.
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The human heart is composed of four chambers: right and left atrium and right and left ventricle, which together facilitate the circulation of blood. During a heartbeat, biophysical stimuli in each chamber vary dramatically due to large blood pressure differences. These differences influence muscle development and function in adulthood via changes in gene expression. However, little is known about the exact cellular composition and molecular architecture of individual cells in the different regions and how each cell works in a symphony to maintain the heartbeat – 100,000 of which occur every day in the body to keep the blood flowing.
The Heart and Vascular Biological Network uses cell atlas technologies to unravel the full range of cardiac and vascular cells. With new methods to understand gene activity, this network can identify regional differences in the tissues that pump and transport blood to the body. Implementing approaches to reconstruct cellular networks in 3D is also a crucial aim of the network. Understanding the healthy heart cell by cell and in 3D space will help to understand interactions between cell types and cell states that can allow lifelong function and how these differ in diseases. Ultimately, these fundamental insights may suggest specific targets that can lead to individualized therapies in the future, creating personalized medicine for heart disease and improving the effectiveness of treatments for each patient.