Brain and Heart renderings

del Monte Research Lab

Federica del Monte, M.D.

Federica del Monte M.D., Ph.D.

Director, Christie Heart and Brain Center and Human Heart Biobank
Division of Cardiology

Dr. del Monte’s lab focuses on basic cardiac muscle pathophysiology and translational research to understand the pathogenesis of cardiomyopathies and heart failure (HF) as an Alzheimer’s disease and for the discovery of novel therapies. The lab utilizes an interdisciplinary approach in-vitro and in-vivo physiology, molecular biology and imaging as well as biophysical and structural-chemistry approaches. The early work from Dr. del Monte’s lab focused on Ca2+ homeostasis in the failing heart and gene therapy. For those studies, Dr. del Monte is a recognized leader in cardiomyocytes physiology and Ca2+ handling in animal models and human hearts. Dr. del Monte’s research has evolved towards cutting edge and innovative unexplored territories linking Alzheimer’s Disease and heart failure. The latest discoveries are recognized as a major breakthrough that opened a new era for the understanding of the pathogenesis of HF.

Dr. del Monte discovered, in dilated cardiomyopathy (iDCM), plaque and tangles-like protein aggregates similar to the pathological defects in Alzheimer Disease (AD). Since this first discovery the lab determined that Alzheimers Disease and cardiomyopathy share the same pathogenic defect changing the paradigm of the pathogenesis of iDCM. The lab characterized the cell response to misfolded proteins; identified genetic variants in common between iDCM and AD; purified and chemical characterized the composition of amyloid fibrils of cardiac plaques identifying an actin-polymerizing protein-Cofilin-2 to be comprised within the aggregates and characterized its role on cardiac function; identified how misfolded proteins exert their toxic effect and developed the new concept of metastatic transmissibility of pre-amyloid oligomers.

In addition to identifying Alzheimer’s like plaques and tangles in the heart of patients with cardiomyopathy the lab determined that the heart of patients with primary diagnosis of Alzheimer’s contains Ab deposits and present diastolic dysfunction. Given the commonality of the structure/function of misfolded proteins, the results obtained on cardiomyocytes can be translated to any cell, and studying the heart can provide insights for the detection of onset and progression of brain disorders using the heart as a window to the brain and offering a common therapeutic target for diseases affecting millions of people. Supporting activities for the cardiology division are mentoring students and fellows, from experience as reviewer for K08, K99-R00, R01 NIH grants. Dr. del Monte is also the Director of the human hearts biorepository at MUSC.

Christie Heart & Brain Program

Human Hearts Biorepository (Biobank)


PubMed Collection

Senior Author Publications:

Senior Author PubMed Collection (senior author publications are most often associated with mentored projects)