Heart nanofiber breakthrough awaits your STAT Madness vote

Texas Heart Institute project using Rice nanotube fibers in first round of NCAA-style bracket

Nanotube fibers invented at Rice University are at the heart of a Texas Heart Institute (THI) project to repair electrical connections in hearts damaged by cardiac arrest. This week, you can give it your vote of confidence.

Heart nanotube fiber graphicTHI has entered the discovery revealed last August in this year’s STAT Madness, an NCAA-style, single-elimination bracket to choose the past year’s best university-based bioscience project.

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 conductive power of carbon nanotube fibers.

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.

Voting in round 1 began March 2. The first round is open until 10:59 p.m. CST March 8.

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.