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A Heart's Fresh Start

The muscle cells of a zebrafish heart, called cardiomyocytes and colored red in this image, are able to re-grow after an injury, something cell biologist Ken Poss and cardiologist Ravi Karra would like to teach human heart cells to do. This image comes from 2015 paper in PNAS, in which their team identified a gene transcription factor that is key to the regeneration program activated in cardiomyocytes after an injury. Such work is the focus of a new center at Duke called Regeneration Next, melding researchers from the medical center, biomedical engineering and arts & sciences to explore how human tissues might be taught to regenerate.