"This is how a heart b̶r̶e̶a̶k̶s̶ forms"

Published on 
October 15, 2014

By using a special microscope–and channeling Rob Thomas–in the Translational Biomedical Imaging Lab (TBIL) at The Saban Research Institute, Rusty Lansford, PhD, is able to record each heart cell as a living embryo grows and develops.

What am I looking at?

You are viewing the embryo from its belly (ventral) side, with the head on the left and the heart in the middle of the screen. The magenta dots are somatic cells, which will develop into various body parts. The blue dots are the cells travelling to form the inner lining of the heart chambers and blood vessels. 

Why track the movement of heart cells?

By studying heart formation on a cellular level, researchers are hoping to track exactly when and where defects arise. This will allow them to better understand and treat the progression of congenital heart diseases in infants and children.