Seven researchers will split nearly $1.1 million in funding for congenital heart defect research. The American Heart Association and The Children’s Heart Foundation announced the awards Tuesday.

The funds are the latest to be doled out through the Congenital Heart Defect Research Awards, a program from the AHA and CHF that will fund up to $22.5 million in CHD research through 2021. These latest awards bring the current total to $1.87 million.

Congenital heart defects, the most common birth defects in the United States, are the leading killer of U.S. infants with birth defects. Each year, roughly 40,000 American children are born with a heart defect.

Although the rate of CHDs has not decreased over time, more infants with heart defects are surviving to adulthood because of advancements made through research.

The research award recipients are:

  • Dr. Craig Rusin, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston
  • Dr. Jill Heathcock, Ohio State University
  • Dr. Daniel Seung Kim, University of Washington School of Medicine
  • Joshua Vincentz, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
  • Dr. Andrew Meyer, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
  • Xiaoying Cai, University of Virginia School of Medicine
  • Dr. Ethan Kung, Clemson University

The scientists will explore new technologies, enhanced imaging techniques and ways to prevent surgery complications.

“Through this collaboration and our ongoing commitment to research focused on congenital heart defects, we strive to make a lasting impact in the lives of those with CHDs,” said William Foley, executive director of CHF.