Bernhard Kühn, MD

  • Director of Research in Cardiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
  • Associate Director, Richard King Mellon Foundation Institute for Pediatric Research
  • Associate Professor of Pediatrics

Education & Training

  • Medical School – Freie Universitat Berlin, Germany – MD
  • Residency – Yale University - Pediatrics
  • Fellowship – Children’s Hospital Boston – Pediatric Cardiology

Research Grants

NIH Grants:  R01

Research Summary

Dr. Kühn is a cardiovascular researcher and pediatric cardiologist. His research is on the century-old question of whether, under what conditions, and to what extent mammalian hearts regenerate themselves. He addresses this question with the long-term goal of developing regenerative strategies to treat heart failure, and his approach involves basic and translational research.

Dr. Kühn was drawn to the field of cardiac regeneration because it offers the opportunity to apply basic research discoveries to alleviate a significant health problem. He is directing a research lab with three interconnected goals: to understand the mechanisms of cellular proliferation and differentiation in the heart; to provide mechanistic explanations for the huge variation in regenerative activity; and, drawing on the answers to these fundamental questions, to apply basic research results to treat heart disease. Prior to this work, it was commonly thought that after birth, heart muscle cells (cardiomyocytes) are in irreversible proliferative arrest and that myocardial regeneration does not happen. Physicians and scientists were skeptical that it would be possible to stimulate cardiomyocyte proliferation after birth, let alone that this mechanism would regenerate myocardium. Based on the insight about cardiomyocyte proliferation in human infants and children, and on the discovery that administration of the growth factor neuregulin stimulates cardiomyocyte proliferation, Dr. Kühn has developed a clinically testable strategy to regenerate myocardium in pediatric patients.

Dr. Kühn enjoys teaching, mentoring, and patient care, however, he spends the majority of his time in his lab.

Representative Publications

  1. Yester JW, Kühn B. Mechanisms of Cardiomyocyte Proliferation and Differentiation in Development and Regeneration. Curr Cardiol Rep. 2017 Feb;19(2):13. doi: 10.1007/s11886-017-0826-1. Review. PubMed PMID: 28185170; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5460671.
  2. Ganapathy B, Nandhagopal N, Polizzotti BD, Bennett D, Asan A, Wu Y, Kühn B. Neuregulin-1 Administration Protocols Sufficient for Stimulating Cardiac Regeneration in Young Mice Do Not Induce Somatic, Organ, or Neoplastic Growth. PLoS One. 2016 May 13;11(5):e0155456. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0155456. eCollection 2016. PubMed PMID: 27175488; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4866786.
  3. Polizzotti BD, Ganapathy B, Walsh S, Choudhury S, Ammanamanchi N, Bennett DG, dos Remedios CG, Haubner BJ, Penninger JM, Kühn B. Neuregulin stimulation of cardiomyocyte regeneration in mice and human myocardium reveals a therapeutic window. Sci Transl Med. 2015 Apr 1;7(281):281ra45. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaa5171. PubMed PMID: 25834111; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5360874.
  4. Dueck H, Khaladkar M, Kim TK, Spaethling JM, Francis C, Suresh S, Fisher SA, Seale P, Beck SG, Bartfai T, Kühn B, Eberwine J, Kim J. Deep sequencing reveals cell-type-specific patterns of single-cell transcriptome variation. Genome Biol. 2015 Jun 9;16:122. doi: 10.1186/s13059-015-0683-4. PubMed PMID: 26056000; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4480509.
  5. Senyo SE, Lee RT, Kühn B. Cardiac regeneration based on mechanisms of cardiomyocyte proliferation and differentiation. Stem Cell Res. 2014 Nov;13(3 Pt B):532-41. doi: 10.1016/j.scr.2014.09.003. Epub 2014 Sep 28. Review. PubMed PMID: 25306390; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4435693.
  6. Polizzotti BD, Ganapathy B, Haubner BJ, Penninger JM, Kühn B. A cryoinjury model in neonatal mice for cardiac translational and regeneration research. Nat Protoc. 2016 Mar;11(3):542-52. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2016.031. Epub 2016 Feb 18. PubMed PMID: 26890681; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5464389.