Lee L. Eckhardt, MD
Position title: Associate Professor, Department of Medicine
Website: Eckhardt Lab
Research work in my lab and my clinical practice focuses on the study and treatment of inherited arrhythmia syndromes. My particular interest is in potassium inward rectifiers (Kir2), which is the dominant component of IK1, and their contribution to cardiac sudden death, both from inherited and acquired arrhythmia syndromes. We use human induced pluripotent stem cells cardiomyocytes (iPS-CMs) to model inherited arrhythmia syndromes. One of my lab’s projects is to improve on current stem-cell technology to more closely model human cardiac cells with the use of IK1-enhanced cardiomyocytes. iPS-CMs are viable, reproducible and accessible cell model system to study a variety of cardiac conditions, testing for drug efficacy for cardiac medications or analysis of toxicity of potential therapeutics. However, because of the lack or minimal presence of IK1 in iPS-cardiomyocytes, my lab has been instrumental in creating an IK1-enhanced iPS- cardiomyocytes to improve the electrical maturity in order to model arrhythmias and disease. These disease models are used to study arrhythmia mechanisms to better understand the clinical disease process, with the ongoing goal of creating tailored drug therapy for sudden death prevention and improve on the usefulness of iPS-CMs for drug safety testing.