Nature: Molecular Heart Mapping and CRISPR Technology Create New Possibilities for Health Science

June 22, 2022:

Imagine, if scientists had a map of the heart, so granular in its accuracy that it even profiled details of the heart at the cellular level. What if we could zoom in even further, via single nucleus profiling, to peer inside the heart with a molecular view? Imagine the incredible possibilities of such a detailed map: With this knowledge, doctors will be better able to diagnose and treat diseases of the heart and cardiovascular system.  

This is precisely what Dr. Nathan Tucker has been determined to learn, in a new peer-reviewed study published in the science journal, Nature. From his lab at Masonic Medical Research Institute in Utica, New York, Dr. Tucker collaborated and co-authored the study with a team of 19 scientists from the Broad Institute at MIT and Harvard. The study, titled, “Single-nucleus profiling of human dilated and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy,” identified molecular alterations in failing hearts at single-cell resolution, by performing single-nucleus RNA sequencing of nearly 600,000 nuclei.

“We often think of hearts solely as muscles, but they are actually a complex mixture of cells that need to work together in order to perform its function as a pump,” said Dr. Tucker regarding the new study. “In the past, we have not been able to look at these other critical components, but through revolutionary technology such as we use here, our ability to accurately examine these other cells is unlocked. In this study, using this technology and a series of human tissue samples, we identified novel state transitions in end stage heart failure at single cell resolution. It is our hope to use these new targets as the basis for therapeutic development in the future.”

The ground-breaking effort builds upon Dr. Tucker’s already extensive work on mapping the human heart. In 2020, Dr. Tucker was part of the team effort to create a cell map of the human heart, along with colleagues from Broad Institute at MIT, Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the University of Pennsylvania. “Understanding of human cardiac biology at this resolution was not possible just a few years ago, said Dr. Tucker. “One of our major aims was to create a public resource to share with our research community.” 

Nature is a highly prestigious science journal, considered to be in the upper echelon of peer-reviewed journals, as such, this is an especially important accolade for Dr. Tucker and his team’s work at MMRI. 

Read more at the journal link here: 

 (Click here for the PDF of the abstract

Dr. Nathan Tucker of MMRI