Coulombe awarded $2.8M from NIH

Brown Engineering Associate Professor Kareen Coulombe has been awarded more than $2.8 million from the National Institutes of Health for her study on the Interdependence of Post-MI Local Revascularization and Remuscularization by Engineered Human Myocardium on Cardiac Remodeling and Regeneration. The grant is a four-year award issued from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute under the Cardiovascular Diseases Research program. 

Permanent decline in heart function in patients after a heart attack, medically termed a myocardial infarction (MI), is due to cell death and compromised perfusion in the heart, which has led to heart failure in over three million Americans. Persistent ischemia in the myocardium after acute MI limits the recovery and contractility of the surviving heart muscle, and treatments have yet to replace the heart muscle cells, or cardiomyocytes. Coulombe’s project addresses this gap by optimizing the delivery systems of new cardiomyocytes and advancing biomaterial systems for integrating a revascularization strategy for repairing and remuscularizing the heart to regenerate function. 

The Coulombe Lab for Heart Regeneration and Health innovates in the field of tissue engineering for applications in cardiac regenerative medicine. Using cardiomyocytes derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs), the Coulombe Lab is advancing human engineered myocardium for in vitro disease modeling and drug development as well as for heart regeneration. They leverage stem cell biology, biomaterials for scaffold design and drug delivery systems, computational approaches, and relevant preclinical research models and imaging analyses to advance cardiac therapeutics. The mission of the Coulombe Lab is to translate novel therapies to the clinic for heart disease patients around the world.

Coulombe is the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award and several honors and awards for both research and teaching, including Innovation of the Year at the inaugural Innovation@Brown Showcase for Rhode Island entrepreneurs, startup founders, venture capitalists, and industry leaders. She also received a 2020 Brown Biomedical Innovation to Impact Award and the inaugural 2019 Brown University Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring in Engineering. She joined the School of Engineering faculty at Brown in 2014.