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David Tran

University of California, Irvine

Sponsor: Dr. Steven George

"Development of a Patient-Specific High-Throughput Cardiac Drug-Screening Platform."

David Tran, a Ph.D. student working under Dr. Steven George at the University of California, Irvine, has received a second year of IFER support for his project, “Development of a patient-specific high-throughput cardiac drug-screening platform.” David has been generating an in vitro model using human induced pluripotent stem cells as a source for human cardiomyocytes to examine the pharmacokinetics and toxicity of drugs. Over the past year, his model has undergone several changes to improve its functionality and enable it to better characterize the effects of drugs on heart function. Changes include the use of cells that express an ultrasensitive calcium indicator protein and the incorporation of electrodes on the bottom surface of the cellular chamber to better monitor changes in cardiac tissue electrophysiology. Development of such a model is critical, as a significant portion of rejected drugs fail in humans because of cardiotoxic side effects not evident in animal models.