Nikhil Vilas Munshi, MD, PhD
Photo: Nikhil V. Munshi






Elected 2024

I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, and my research program focuses on transcriptional regulation of cell type specification in the cardiovascular system.  Since starting my lab in 2011, we have characterized the role of transcription factors in cardiac conduction system function and leveraged this accumulating knowledge to reprogram fibroblasts into cardiac pacemaker cells.  More recently, we have developed approaches and expertise for genomics assays, including ATAC-seq and scRNA-seq, which we have applied to diseased human tissues and the cardiac conduction system.  Combining single-cell perturbation by CRISPR interference with single-cell RNA-seq read-outs of cardiomyocyte differentiation status, we have begun to systematically annotate human disease variants implicated in congenital heart disease.  To explore regulatory elements more globally, we have generated comprehensive datasets derived from the mouse sinoatrial node, atrioventricular node, and ventricular conduction system.  Using these datasets, we have identified numerous bonafide developmental enhancer elements capable of driving gene expression specifically within the cardiac conduction system, and we are beginning to elucidate the molecular mechanisms by which specific single nucleoltide polymorphisms associated with cardiac electrical activity affect the function of the cardiac conduction system.  Finally, we developed a novel mouse model for controlled atrioventricular node ablation to demonstrate that the neonatal conduction system is capable of regenerating cardiac rhythm.