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David Geffen School of Medicine

Gift from the Heart

Dr. Laks, Tyler Gilbert, and Dr. Shemin-MedMag S2012Tyler Gilbert is a 24-year-old CalArts student and aspiring composer who suffers from a rare congenital heart defect. When he was 16, a cardiologist told his parents that they had "done everything they could" and referred him to UCLA for a heart transplant. The pacemaker he received instead at UCLA was such a success, however, that he has been leading an active life ever since. Prior to her death, Frances Gilbert of Escondido, Mr. Gilbert's great-aunt, set up the Tyler Gilbert Heart Transplant Survivor's Foundation for the purpose of sponsoring basic science research in the field. To express his personal gratitude, Mr. Gilbert decided to fund a research fellowship in cardiac surgery at UCLA through the family foundation. Dr. Sepideh Hagvall, assistant adjunct professor and the first Tyler Gilbert Heart Transplant Survivor's Foundation Fellow in Heart Research, is employing stem-cell biology and nanotechnology to repair or replace damaged portions of the heart, which may one day allow for the routine replacement of lost or failing tissues and organs.


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