Deepak Srivastava, MD

  • A Basil O'Connor Starter Scholar grantee
  • A pediatric cardiologist studying birth defects
  • A researcher linking specific genes to heart defects

Pediatric cardiologist Deepak Srivastava, MD, a March of Dimes grantee for more than a decade, has been studying causes of congenital heart malformations, the most common birth defects, affecting about 1 in 100 babies.

Notably, he discovered genes that guide the formation of the ventricles, the lower pumping chambers of the heart and genes that play a role in a vascular defect called patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), which is most common in very premature babies.

Of course, discovering genes that can cause certain heart defects is not the end of the story. Dr. Srivastava and others have found that the gene mutations causing heart defects in some infants, do not do it in others. Therefore there may be contributing causes -- genetic, or environmental -- and they need to be discovered.

"When that happens," states Dr. Srivastava, "Then it may become possible to modify the environment and prevent a CHD from occurring."