Our Vision

  • Improving the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of heart disease through “omics” (such as genetics, genomics, proteomics, transcriptomics), environmental and stem cell based research to identify the cause of disease and find new ways to treat patients with heart disease.
  • Expediting scientific discovery through multi-centre participation and sharing of resources, knowledge and expertise to perform population-based studies
  • Translation of research findings to the bedside through the creation of a multi-disciplinary research network of basic and clinical scientists, physicians, geneticists, epidemiologists, statisticians with strong institutional, private and industry support to expedite clinical applications of research findings.

Our Approach

Genes

Genes are contained in DNA, the blueprint of life that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all living organisms. The role of DNA is to store information about ourselves over a long period of time. Just like a book that contains many chapters and each chapter tells a deeper and deeper story, our DNA is much like a book telling a similar story of ourselves. The segments of our DNA carry our genetic information called genes.

The Heart Centre Biobank has collected DNA (blood, saliva, tissue) to assist in providing the answers to:

  • Identifying the genetic causes of disease
  • Identifying genes that influence outcomes of disease
  • Identifying genes that influence the response to therapy (pharmacogenomics)
  • Gene-environment interactions

Environment

Environmental factors can cause heart disease and influence outcomes. The Heart Centre Biobank studies environmental factors that cause cause heart disease during an individual’s lifetime and aims to find ways to prevent the damaging effects of the environment on the young heart.

Skin

The Heart Centre Biobank collects and banks skin cells. These skin cells can be reprogrammed to form stem cells known as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). These iPS cells can be differentiated to form virtually any cell type in the body! Once these cell types are formed the process of growth can be observed from early life onwards. These cells can be used for:

  1. Disease modeling
  2. Drug screening and drug discovery
  3. Transplantation in the future

Our Team


Dr. Seema Mital received a bachelor’s degree in medicine and surgery in 1989 from Bombay University. She completed her paediatric residency at Wayne State University in 1996 and a fellowship in paediatric cardiology in 1999 from Columbia University in New York.

Mital served as Assistant Professor at Columbia University, Morgan-Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York, until 2007 when she joined SickKids as a Staff Cardiologist. She is currently Head of Cardiovascular Research and at SickKids, Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto and a Senior Scientist at the SickKids Research Institute.

She is also the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario Chair of Cardiovascular Science, and the Scientific Co-Lead of the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research.

Mital Lab Website


Our research focuses on genomics, pharmacogenomics and stem cell applications in childhood heart disease. This includes the study of DNA using next-generation sequencing, and tissue and patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) in patients with congenital cardiac malformations and cardiomyopathies.

The goals are to identify gene defects that cause heart disease in children, identify the influence of genetic variations on disease severity and outcomes, and apply this knowledge to inform the clinical care of children with heart disease and discovery of new therapies for pediatric heart failure.

An equally important goal is to study gene-environment interactions in causing heart disease. The approach to research is translational and includes clinical and basic research methodologies to answer these questions