LabTV: Curious About Heart Failure in Young Children
Posted on by Dr. Francis Collins
Growing up in Pittsburgh, Josh Maxwell enjoyed romping around outdoors. He was an adventurous kid who liked to catch live frogs and snakes, lug them home, and surprise his parents with the latest creepy find. Maxwell rode his curiosity for nature to a bachelor’s degree in biology from Allegheny College, Meadville, PA. He then went on to earn a Ph.D. in cell and molecular physiology from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.
Maxwell, the focus of our latest LabTV video, is now a research scientist in the lab of Michael Davis at Emory University, Atlanta, where he studies pediatric heart failure. Maxwell grows cardiac cells in tissue culture and tries to fix the defects that lie within. What’s driving this important research is that a heart transplant remains the only option to save the lives of many kids born with severe congenital heart problems. In addition to shortages of donated organs, undergoing such a major operation at such a tender age can take a real toll on the children and their families. Maxwell wants to be a part of discovering non-surgical alternatives to regenerate cardiac tissue and one day repair a damaged heart for a lifetime.
Maxwell says that he enjoys being a member of a dynamic research team that encompasses diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise. He has found that the work satisfies his curiosity and interest in science, while giving him the opportunity to benefit the lives of others.
He looks forward to the day when his work might prolong or improve the lives of young patients suffering from heart failure, some of whom he’s been fortunate enough to meet in the course of his research. As he says, “That’s the dream.”
Davis Lab (Emory University, Atlanta)
Science Careers (National Institute of General Medical Sciences/NIH)
Careers Blog (Office of Intramural Training/NIH)
Pediatric heart failure is a very difficult research topic that one cannot understand quickly. It takes time to understand.