Jon Holden DeHaan Foundation

Updated:Jun 4,2014


AHA-Jon Holden DeHaan Foundation Cardiac Myogenesis Research Centers

In 2009, with support from the Jon Holden DeHaan Foundation, investigators began efforts to understand the fundamental mechanisms underlying development and specification of cardiac myocytes. The insights gained from these studies will benefit patients with cardiac injury. Since their inception, the AHA/Jon Holden DeHaan Cardiac Myogenesis Research Centers have hosted multiple conferences, scientific retreats and collaborations with members of the science community to move the field closer to a clinical trial. The Centers are scheduled to complete their projects in March 2013 and have reported more than $40 million dollars in new research funding leveraged from their individual AHA/DeHaan grants.

The grants have been awarded to the following facilities, each to become home to an American Heart Association-Jon Holden DeHaan Foundation Cardiac Myogenesis Research Center:

  • University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa. – Center Director: Jonathan Epstein, M.D.
  • University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas – Center Director: Eric Olson, Ph.D.
  • University of Minnesota – Minneapolis, Minn. – Center Director: Doris Taylor, PhD

Each center will undertake a number of basic science research projects specifically looking at cardiac myocytes, or heart cell muscles, to learn more about how those cells biologically develop, integrate and work.  Ideally, findings from this research will lead to new ways to treat various forms of heart disease, including heart attacks, congenital heart disease and heart failure.

Some of the research will focus on developing methods to identify stems cells from the heart or other organs, such as bone marrow, to give back to the patient in a way that will sustain long-lasting recovery of cardiac function. The research will build the foundation for future use of adult stem cells for regenerating and repairing heart muscle, as well as for developing new therapies and drugs in the fight against heart disease.

These awards are effective April 1, 2009, and will be funded through March 31, 2012.

The Jon Holden DeHaan Foundation, of Naples, Fla., has a long history of funding American Heart Association cardiovascular research and cumulatively has contributed almost $5 million to the association for this purpose.  The American Heart Association-Jon Holden DeHaan Foundation Cardiac Myogenesis Research Center Program is the most ambitious partnership undertaken by the two organizations.