A keynote address by alumna Dr. Doris Taylor '77, followed by a half-day session featuring faculty and medical experts, highlighted advancements and challenges in heart disease treatments during the second annual Imagine, Inspire, Challenge (II+C) Symposium March 26-27.

Taylor’s lab at the Texas Heart Institute is exploring the potential for stem cell therapies that include patches and—more long-term—replacements for damaged hearts. Dr. Luiz Sampaio, a cardiothoracic surgeon who works with Taylor and also directs the Cullen Cardiovascular Research Laboratories, is exploring the potential for mechanical devices to alleviate or replace damaged hearts. Both provided overviews of current research, as well as the importance of the symposium theme, “Know Your Numbers.”

A faculty panel discussed factors affecting heart disease, including genetics, diet, exercise, stress and ethnicity. More than 70 volunteers were tested for numbers that included blood glucose, weight, body mass index and cholesterol, with a concluding session providing an overview of where the test group ranked according to state and national averages.