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Jeffrey G. Jacot

Jeff Jacot_webAssociate Professor of Bioengineering
Rice University and Texas Children’s Hospital

Pediatric Cardiovascular Bioengineering Laboratory

Postdoctoral Fellow, Cardiac Myocyte Mechanics
University of California, San Diego (2005-2008) 
Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, Boston University (2005)
B.S., Chemical Engineering, University of Colorado (1994)

Bio Sketch

Jeffrey Jacot specializes in the study of congenital heart disease and heart defects, and in the translation of novel regenerative cardiac therapies for young patients of various stages in their growth and development. 

As an assistant professor of bioengineering at Rice University and director of the Pediatric Cardiac Bioengineering Laboratory at the Congenital Heart Surgery Service at Texas Children’s Hospital, Jacot works alongside surgeons, clinicians, radiologists and biologists to understand the clinical needs in congenital heart defect management and repair, analyze the mechanical and biological processes in heart tissue development, and develop novel biomaterials for tissue-engineered heart muscle.

Jacot’s research focuses primarily on the influences of biophysical cues, such as stress, strain, shear, substrate stiffness and electrical stimulation, on the development and maturation of heart cells and tissues. He is the primary investigator on several projects that involve: 

  • Characterizing changes in the stiffness of cardiac tissue during development, and mechanisms connecting these changes to cellular behavior and responses;
  • Analyzing differences in tissue mechanics and cellular responses in congenital heart defects
  • Analyzing the effects of biophysical cues on the differentiation of stem cells into cardiomyocytes; and
  • Evaluating the use of novel materials and constructs for tissue engineering or regenerative approaches.

Through a Medical Innovations Award by the Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering (IBB) at Rice, a grant from the Virginia and L.E. Simmons Family Foundation Collaborative Research Fund, an NSF CAREER Award, and grants from the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association and the Gulf Coast Consortia, Jacot and his collaborators are working to develop heart tissue grown from stem cells taken from the amniotic fluid of patients’ mothers. This tissue will be genetically identical to the child and will grow with the patient.

Jacot began modeling cardiac mechanics as a postdoctoral fellow in the Cardiac Mechanics Research Group at the University of California, San Diego. Working with Professor Jeffrey H. Omens and Professor Andrew D. McCulloch, he developed new approaches to explore the role mechanical forces play on the differentiation of embryonic stem cells into cardiomyocytes, or heart muscle cells, and the maturation of these cells. Jacot’s work in this area continues to evolve, and he is actively seeking ways to apply the basic research toward the development of engineered cardiac tissue sheets that serve as a patch to repair ventricular defects. 

Research Statement

Jacot's laboratories at Rice’s BioScience Research Collaborative and on fourth floor of the Feigin Center at Texas Children’s focus on the influences of biophysical cues, such as stress, strain, shear, substrate stiffness and electrical stimulation, on the development and maturation of heart cells and tissues. His research seeks to accomplish the following goals:

  • Develop a cellularized cardiac patch for use in repair of congenital heart defects that is autologous, contractile and actively conductive;
  • Investigate mechanotransductive pathways in cardiac maturation and the development of cardiac defects;
  • Collaborate on clinical investigations and evaluation of therapeutic technologies for congenital heart surgery;
  • Utilize primary human cells and tissues for most experiments, and focus on biophysical cues, such as strain, elastic modulus, shear stress and electrical stimulation; and
  • Train graduate and undergraduate students for careers in medicine and engineering.