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GEN’s editor in chief, John Sterling, interviews life science academic and biotech industry leaders on important research, technology, and trends. These podcasts will keep you informed with all the important details you need.

Scientists at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease have traced the evolution of the four-chambered human heart to a common genetic factor linked to the development of hearts in turtles and other reptiles. The research, published in the September 3 issue of Nature, shows how a specific protein that turns on genes is involved in heart formation in turtles, lizards, and humans. The scientists believe their finding will offer insights into human disease.

During this week's podcast Dr. Benoit Bruneau addresses his team's discovery involving the Tbx5 gene. He discusses where the gene is found in the animal kingdom and what this suggests. He also talks about the importance of Tbx5 in relation to both heart evolution and human disease and why he thinks reptiles occupy a critical point in heart evolution.

In addition, Dr. Bruneau describes the implications of this research for human disorders, particularly congenital heart disease.
Benoit Bruneau is an Associate Investigator at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Bruneau obtained his PhD from the University of Ottawa, where he studied the regulation of natriuretic peptides with Adolfo de Bold. He pursued his training as a postdoc in the lab of Jon and Christine Seidman at Harvard Medical School, studying cardiac transcription factors. Dr Bruneau began his independent career as a Scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, from 2001 until 2006, when he then joined the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease in San Francisco, California.

Dr. Bruneau’s research interests have focused on the transcriptional regulation of heart development and cardiac differentiation, and more recently how chromatin remodeling factors are critically relevant to heart development. His lab’s studies pursue several genetic and biochemical avenues to elucidate how transcription factors and chromatin remodelling complexes regulates cardiac organogenesis and differentiation, in order to understand the basis of congenital heart disease and inherited heart diseases. These studies may also help to devise strategies to create new heart cells for regenerative therapy.

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