Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of people in the western world, with cardiac arrhythmias causing half of these deaths. The most common type of arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation—and the number of people suffering from this condition is expected to double in the next 40 years. As Canada Research Chair in Cardiovascular Biology, Dr. Peter Backx is studying the molecular, physiological and genetic mechanisms behind how cardiovascular disease induces atrial fibrillation.
He and his research team are combining mouse models of atrial fibrillation with cutting-edge regenerative stem cell research to identify the fundamental causes of atrial fibrillation. They are also developing new approaches to treat the condition. Their findings will lead to a better understanding of the factors underlying atrial fibrillation and how they are altered by exercise and metabolic diseases.