The Noé Heart Centre Labs

A collection of 3D printed hearts in different colours and sizes

Noé Heart Centre Labs

Five critical labs that support research.

Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) is the largest centre for child heart care in the UK and one of the largest heart transplant centres for children in the world. The Zayed Centre for Research houses both the GOSH Cardiac team and expert cardiac academics from UCL. More than 70% of visits to the Centre’s Falcon outpatients facility are from children with cardiac conditions.

Thanks to the generous support of the Rachel Charitable Trust, the Noé Heart Centre Labs have been created to bring together five critical labs that support research into new treatments and underpin cardiac clinical care at GOSH.

‘The Rachel Charitable Trust are delighted to support Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity. The Noé family are deeply appreciative to the doctors and nurses of Great Ormond Street Hospital for the care they took of their son, grandson, nephew. We hope that the Noé Heart Labs will assist in GOSH’s endeavours to advance medical research and by doing so save lives.’

Rachel Charitable Trust
Nine men and women stand in front of a plaque to commemorate the Noe Heart Centre Labs

Cardiac morphology lab

The cardiac morphology lab contains the UK’s largest archive of heart samples, dating back to the 1940s. These now form the basis of the team’s research into next generation, cardiac CT imaging. This advanced technology produces exceptionally high-resolution images of even the smallest heart samples from within the archive, without damaging them. It can provide information on structures not visible to the human eye, such as the wiring of the heart, and is redefining our understanding of disease. Ultra-high-resolution cameras in the lab’s ceiling allow the team to livestream this information to clinicians and researchers across the world, equalising access for everyone, and enabling education and collaborative research to improve cardiac clinical care.

Three researchers, one male and two female smile whilst looking at a 3D heart. There is a computer screen on the wall that shows the heart up close

Regenerative medicine lab

The regenerative medicine lab studies both heart development and cardiac tissue regeneration. By combining stem cell biology with novel tissue engineering approaches, work in this lab aims to advance our understanding of how the heart forms. It may ultimately provide new therapeutic strategies for children born with congenital heart defects.

Two female researchers in a lab. One is wearing a white coat and hijab and the other is wearing a blue lab coat. They are both working with samples.

3D printing lab

The 3D printing lab houses six specialised 3D printers to print models of the heart and other organs. This is an invaluable resource for both planning surgeries and exploring new treatments and devices tailored to each child’s heart. These techniques are particularly helpful for children born with heart conditions as their hearts are very small and particularly complex. Being able to see the heart in such detail can mean quicker, more effective surgeries and less need for repeat surgeries.

A 3D Printing machine

Nitinol lab

The nitinol lab tests new heart devices and material that could help design custom-made solutions for each child with a complex heart condition. Nitinol is a specialist ‘shape memory’ metal that can be shaped to adapt to the anatomy of the child's vessels. Devices can be tested mechanically and using a pump that replicates the human heart conditions.

Bench testing lab

The bench testing lab is for processing blood samples collected from patients with heart conditions to understand the genetic and biological causes of diseases. Understanding of the mechanisms of disease progression can help discover new biomarkers for early detection of heart failure and design new treatments for children born with heart conditions.

‘The generous donation from the Rachel Charitable Trust allows us to continue our work unhindered by giving us access to the best facilities & equipment in the world.'

Professor Andrew Cook, Professor of Research and Education in Fetal Cardiac Development, Surgical and Interventional Cardiac Anatomy, UCL Institute of Cardiovascular Disease

Photography by Jack Aldridge Photography