Facilitated through the Institute for Medicine and Engineering (IME), the Department of Bioengineering, and the Department of Radiology, the Biotechnology and Imaging Program at the Penn Cardiovascular Institute in Philadelphia includes research facilities and expertise directed at the integration of physics, engineering, biophysics, imaging and other quantitative sciences into cardiovascular studies.
Integrating Quantitative Sciences and Cardiovascular Research at Penn
The overarching purpose of the program is to inject greater appreciation of the importance of the physical world into classical cardiovascular research hypotheses and problems and to provide expertise for a wide range of investigations.
Blood Flow Characteristics are a Risk Factor for Atherosclerosis
A chronic pro-inflammatory equilibrium (susceptibility) precedes pathological change in endothelial sites of flow disturbance in vivo.
Nanomedicine, Molecular Discovery, and Biomedical Imaging Research
Investigators within the Biotechnology and Imaging Program have strong expertise in the biomechanics of cell structure and function (including endothelial, smooth muscle, neural, and pulmonary cells, in addition to stem cells). Nanoscale investigations are intrinsic to much of this work, and are facilitated via the individual investigator labs and through the atomic force microscopy unit in the IME.
The Penn Center for Molecular Discovery focuses on high throughput robotized screening methodologies using multiple platforms. Also under the IME umbrella is a cell center for the study of human pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Pulmonary vascular cells are isolated and propagated from the diseased lungs of transplant recipients shipped from multiple national transplant centers. Research associated with the PAH center includes mechanisms of extracellular matrix regulation of cell differentiation and function.
The Next Generation of Imaging and Cardiovascular Researchers
The Department of Radiology, IME, and Department of Bioengineering of the School of Engineering jointly coordinate an HHMI-NIH PhD training program in clinical imaging that includes MRI, PET and ultrasound applications in cardiovascular medicine. Six training positions are supported.
There is also a 12-position NIH Training Grant in Interdisciplinary Cardiovascular Research that offers two-year support for six pre-docs and six post-docs.
The radiology department includes a live-small animal imaging facility and an optical imaging unit, both of which have high cardiovascular research utility.