Pushing the boundaries of scientific discovery
Dr. Phyllis Billia

​​​​​​​Cardiologist Dr. Phyllis Billia is investigating whether the heart can be altered so it’s able to regenerate​

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​​Philosophers and poets will muse about the human heart; at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, world-class researchers are coming closer to discovering what makes it tick

Can a damaged heart learn to fix itself?

There's the question Dr. Phyllis Billia is looking to answer through her pioneering research at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre. Dr. Billia, cardiologist, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre Research Lead and Co-Director of the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre Cardiovascular Biobank, says part of the answer may rest in how hearts develop in the first place.

When a baby is born, the heart "proliferates," or grows, for a period of time. Then it stabilizes and stops growing, she explains.

But what if a damaged heart could regrow?

"How can we coax it back?" Dr. Billia asks.

The problem is that the heart is "not really a great regeneration organ," she notes. When a surgeon opens up an artery that caused a heart attack, there is usually irreparable damage. But Dr. Billia is investigating whether the heart could be altered so that it's able to regenerate.​