Treating people with high blood pressure first requires identifying the genes that drive the normal formation of the heart. Although researchers have begun that process, they haven’t yet captured all the “ingredients” – the different genes – that could help repair specific areas of the heart, such as valves. Former University of Ottawa Vice-President, Research, Mona Nemer (now Canada’s Chief Science Advisor) accelerated our understanding of those ingredients. Working with researchers at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and networks in Montreal, England and Australia, she identified a gene called GATA5 that interferes with blood pressure regulation by causing defects in small blood vessels.
Her discovery promises to improve personalized treatments for heart patients.