Heart nanofibers make STAT Madness Round 2

Texas Heart Institute/Rice nanotube fibers advance in NCAA-style bracket

Voters took nanotube fibers to heart last week and pushed a project by Texas Heart Institute (THI) and Rice University into the second round of STAT Madness, the NCAA-style, single-elimination bracket to choose the past year’s best university-based bioscience project.

Heart nanotube fiber graphicNow it’s time to push again for the discovery, revealed last August, that the fibers can be used to repair electrical connections in hearts damaged by cardiac arrest.

Round 2 voting is open until 10:59 p.m. CDT March 15.

A team co-led by Dr. Mehdi Razavi of THI and Matteo Pasquali, the A.J. Hartsook Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and a professor of materials science and nanoengineering and of chemistry at Rice, developed the technology to prevent death due to cardiac arrhythmias by harnessing the fibers’ conductive power.

The American Heart Association helped fund the research with a 2015 grant. The team’s paper was chosen as an open-access Editor’s Pick in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology.

The research springs from the pioneering 2013 invention by Pasquali’s lab of a method to make conductive fibers out of carbon nanotubes. The fibers are also being studied for electrical interfaces with the brain for use in cochlear implants, as flexible antennas and for automotive and aerospace applications.

STAT, an online publication associated with the Boston Globe focused on health and medicine, began the competition in 2017 to celebrate biomedical science and remind readers that “tackling disease starts with small advances, often supported with federal funding,” according to a preview of this year’s event.

Two winners will be chosen: a “fan favorite” based on votes by the public, and an editor’s pick chosen by STAT journalists. The winners will be announced April 6.

About Mike Williams

Mike Williams is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.