Dr. Xu studies heart cells to improve the heart’s ability to regenerate after injuries.
Chunhui Xu is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Emory University School of Medicine. She studies heart cells with the goals of improving treatments for congenital heart disorders and improving the heart’s ability to regenerate after injuries. The main type of cell she studies, a heart-specific stem cell called a cardiac progenitor, survives and multiplies better in microgravity than in typical Earth gravity. Having demonstrated this in simulated microgravity experiments on the ground, Dr. Xu is preparing to launch an experiment to the ISS.
Why does it matter that cardiac progenitor cells grow better in microgravity? Many research applications require large, uniform samples of the cells to get reliable results. Producing high-quality samples more efficiently will accelerate the testing of therapies and drugs for customized medical treatments.