Research Top

Saving tiny Hearts Research


The primary purpose of the Saving tiny Hearts Society is to raise money to fund life saving research projects to improve, prolong and save the lives of those affected by Congenital Heart Defects.

We are honored to have a Medical Advisory Board (MAB) comprised of an elite group of world-renowned cardiothoracic surgeons, researchers and cardiologists. The MAB vets and determines which research projects the Saving tiny Hearts Society will fund. With the help of our MAB, money raised is allocated to fund the most promising research of number one birth defect worldwide.

2023 Grant Application

Research Grant Application

Since 2006, Saving tiny Hearts Society (StHS) has been working to fulfill its mission of raising seed money for grossly under-funded, lifesaving grass roots research of congenital heart defects (CHD’s). These research grants are intended to fund early stage science with unique hypotheses fostering the next generation of congenital heart defect research, thus, creating a strong foundation of preliminary evidence to make scientific advancements.

As a private, not-for-profit source of funds for scientists studying congenital heart defects (CHD), the Saving tiny Hearts Society focuses its funding on investigator-initiated, peer-reviewed proposals. This process ensures that researchers propose projects they believe are ready to be tackled with the available knowledge and techniques. This intellectual freedom encourages discovery in areas that scientists believe are most likely to determine hidden causes and discover cures to prolong, improve and save the lives of all children afflicted with congenital heart defects. Proposals can be basic science, translational, or clinical in nature. Proposals focused on the impact of COVID-19 on CHD patients are also invited.

Funding: Applicants may request up to a maximum of $100,000 (US) for one year.


1. Full Application Due:    Extended to March 8st, 2024 by 11:59pm (CST)
2. Review Panel:    ~ May 2024
3. Grant Start Date:    June 1st, 2024
4. Annual Saving tiny Hearts Gala:    October 22nd, 2024

Eligibility/Restrictions: Independent research faculty employed at institutions located anywhere in the world. All proposals must be in English. Funding cannot cover indirect/administrative costs.

Full Applications should be emailed as one cumulative pdf by midnight CST on the due date via email to the Liaison to the Medical Advisory Board, Dr. Loren Wold (

Any questions regarding completion of the Application should be directed to Medical Advisory Board Chair, Dr. Farah Sheikh (

Grant Application Templates:

Grant Application PDF Icon

Download the 2024 Grant Application (PDF)
Download the 2024 Grant Application (Word version)
Download the 2024 Grant Application Info Letter

Research Projects Funded

Projects Funded

($706,5445 total allocation)

Mechanisms of Atrioventricular Septal Defect Pathogenesis in Down’s syndrome
Principle Investigator – Chulon Kwon
John Hopkins University

Using patient-driven gene discovery approach to understanding molecular mechanisms of congenital heart disease
Principle Investigator – Saurabh Kulkarni
University of Virginia

Risk Mitigation QI Initiative – congenital cardiac catheterization project on outcomes
Principle Investigator – Lisa Bergersen
Harvard Medical School

Ventricular arrhythmia risk in youth with congenital heart disease
Principle Investigator – Andrew McCulloch
UC San Diego

A mechanistic study of endothelial response to shear stress in a 3D bioprinted model of pulmonary artery stenosis
Principle Investigator – Holly Bauser-Heaton
Emory University

The role of Pitx2 in cardiac endothelium during heart development and regeneration
Principle Investigator – Ge Tao
Medical University of South Carolina

Cellular and molecular regulation of ventricular chamber morphology
Principle Investigator – Deborah Yelon
UC San Diego

The Heart of the Matter: functional impact of prenatal nicotine replacement therapy exposure
Principle Investigator – Ronglih Liao
Stanford University

($524,955 total allocation, plus an additional $75,000 based on significant progress)

Identification of genes for congenital heart disease in a consanguineous community
Principle Investigator – Wendy Chung
Columbia University
New York, New York

Therapy for Fatal Arrhythmia in Babies of Mothers with Systemic Autoimmunity
Principle Investigator – Daniela Cihakova
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Maryland

Identifying Novel Genetic Causes Underlying Unexplained Pediatric Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy by Whole Genome Sequencing
Principle Investigator – Alireza Haghighi
Harvard University
Boston, Massachusetts

A new mechanism regulating progenitor proliferation in the cardiac outflow tract
Principle Investigator – Kye-Ho Lee
Medical University of South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina

Understanding cardiac arrhythmias in congenital heart disease using a novel 3D panoramic optical mapping system
Principle Investigator – Elaine Wan
Columbia University
New York, New York

Impairment of PDE2A cAMP-hydrolyzing activity is associated with congenital heart defects
Principle Investigator – Fabio Naro
Universita di Roma
Rome, Italy

($375,000 total allocation, plus an additional $125,000 based on significant progress)

Cancer Risk Related to Low Dose Ionizing Radiation from Cardiac Imaging in Congenital Heart Disease:  A Molecular Study
Principle Investigator – Maria G. Andreassi, MSc, PhD
Isituto Di Fisiologia Clinica
Pisa, Italy

Surgical Outcomes in Anomalous Aortic Origin of a Coronary Artery:  A Molecular Study
Principle Investigator – Brian McCrindle, MD, MPH
The Hospital for Sick Children
Toronto, Canada

A Novel Therapeutic Paradigm for Congenital Arrhythmias
Principle Investigator – Przemyslaw Radwanski, Parm.D., Ph.D
Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio

Improving Transfusion Efficacy Following Surgical Repair of Pediatric Congenital Heart Defects
Principle Investigator – James D. Reynolds, PhD
Case Western University
Cleveland, Ohio

Genetic Regulation of Cardiac Pacemaker Cell Specification
Principle Investigator – Deborah Yelon, PhD
University of California – San Diego
La Jolla, California

($370,000 total allocation)

Defining a Novel Pathway for Pediatric Sudden Cardiac Death
Investigation of Wntless in Heart Regeneration
Gene Editing Treatment of Catecholaminergic Polymorphic Ventricular Tachycardia
Mechanisms of Cardiomyocyte Renewal Regulated by Nkx2.5
Pedigree-Adapted Use of Genomic Sequencing for Deciphering Syndromic and Non Syndromic Congenital Heart Malformations
Design of Mechanical Circulatory Support for Failing Fontan Circulation
Creation of a Chronic Animal Model of Fontan Circulation Using Transcatheter Techniques
Stimulating Cardiomyocyte Proliferation as a Novel Therapy for CHD
Cardiac Energy Signature and Heart Failure in Congenital Heart Disease

($328,000 total allocation)

Role of NOX-4 Dependent Notch1 Dysregulations on Cardiac Development in Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Novel Arrhythmia Mechanisms in Long QT Syndrome
Feasibility of a Novel Fontan Right-Side Assist Device
Neuroprotective Strategies in Pediatric Surgery
Elucidating the Genetics and Epigenetics of Congenital Heart Defects Using Zebrafish Genome Engineering
The Effects of Pediatric-Specific HCM Mutations in B-Cardiac Myosin Power Generation

2014 – 2015
($200,000 total allocation)

Arrhythmogenic Substrate in Fontan Patients
Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome
Cardiac defects in LEOPARD Syndrome

2013 – 2014
($200,000 total allocation)

Long QT Vulnerability in SIDS
Notch Signaling & Ascending Aortic Aneurysm
Novel Mouse Model for CHD and Heterotaxy
Early Manifestation of AC in Children

2012 – 2013
($190,000 total allocation)

Early Manifestations of AC in Children
Improving Prenatal Screening for CHD
Augmenting O-GlcNAcylation
Myosin Heavy Chain 7 Mutation and HC
Arrhythmia & Sudden Cardiac Death in Children

2011 – 2012
($244,000 total allocation)

Arrhythmia and Sudden Cardiac Death in Children
Pulmonary Venous Obstruction in CHD
Brain MRI Atlas for Infants with CHD

2010 – 2011
($344,156 total allocation)

Mechanisms in the Pathogenesis of HLHS
Hypoxia on Neuro Outcome in CHD
Unbalanced Atrioventricular Septal Defect
3D Cardiac Tissue Engineering

2009 – 2010
($100,000 total allocation)

3D Tissue Engineering

2007 – 2009
($52,000 total allocation)

Myocardial Protection and Support in Cyanotic CHD