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Li Qian, PhD, Associate Professor of Pathology, member of the McAllister Heart Institute, has received the 2018 Transformational Project Award from the American Heart Association (AHA) with 3 years funding in the amount of $300,000 to support Qian Lab’s continued effort in using reprogramming approaches to mend broken hearts. Dr. Qian’s work in cardiac reprogramming has opened a new field of study and represents a promising alternative approach to cardiac regeneration. Her ground-breaking work demonstrated that endogenous cardiac fibroblasts can be directly converted into cardiomyocyte-like cells in their native environment, which translated into functional improvement and scar size reduction in an animal model of myocardial infarction. Since being recruited to UNC in 2012, her lab has developed a system in which cardiac reprogramming can be rigorously studied and implemented. Milestone work from the Qian Lab translating basic science into developing innovative therapeutic strategies for heart disease has been published in journals including Nature, Science, Cell Stem Cell, Cell Reports, Circulation Research, and Cardiovascular Research. Read more.