The Heart of the Matter: Professor Awarded NIH Funds

Zhaoming He's award will further his mitral valve research and could increase the quality of life for patients with heart disease.

Written by Megan Robare

He's research could prevent mitral regurgitation, a common form of heart disease which occurs in the mitral valve (pictured above). Photo courtesy of Patrick J. Lynch.

A Texas Tech engineering professor has been awarded nearly $400,000 by the National Institutes of Health to help prevent mitral regurgitation.

Mitral regurgitation, a heart disorder that causes the mitral valve to not close properly when the heart is pumping out blood, is the most common form of valvular heart disease.

Zhaoming He, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, has been studying the mechanical and muscular function of the mitral valve and the best way to repair or modify it. He was given the award for his proposal titled Mitral Valve Coaptation Plate for Ischemic Mitral Regurgitation.

“Our research has the potential to greatly impact the way that surgeons work on the mitral valve,” He said. “This will lead to more efficient ways of performing surgical procedures and could guide the medical community in the development of new devices that can prevent mitral regurgitation. In the end, this will extend the life and increase the quality of life for patients with certain heart diseases.”

He is now examining the use of a coaptation plate. This is affixed to the mitral valve to aid in the proper closing of the valve, thus minimizing or resolving regurgitation and overcoming ischemia.


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National Institutes of Health

National Institutes of Health

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the nations medical research agency making important medical discoveries that improve health and save lives.

NIH supports many innovative training programs and funding mechanisms that foster scientific creativity and exploration. The goal is to strengthen the nations research capacity, broaden the research base, and inspire a passion for science in current and future generations of researchers.