Co-Head - Cardiac Regeneration Lab
NHMRC Early Career Fellow
I completed my undergraduate and doctoral training in 2011 at the University of Queensland. I then went to the Heart Research Center Göttingen (HRCG) at the University Medical Center in Göttingen Germany where I was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from the German Cardiology Society for my work on developing protocols to generate human and non-human primate cardiac tissues. I then moved to the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Queensland in 2013 after being awarded the prestigious NHMRC Peter Doherty Fellowship to continue my research using human cardiac tissues to study development and disease. I have been awarded $800,000 in competitive grant funding to date and hold 2 patents on the generation of human cardiac tissues.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Due to the very limited regenerative capacity of the adult mammalian heart, diseases that result in cardiomyocyte death, such as myocardial infarction, can have devastating consequences for organ function. In contrast, we recently discovered that the mammalian heart harbours a transient potential for regeneration during neonatal life, which is lost shortly after birth. Similar to the zebrafish and axolotl, the neonatal mouse heart can mount a robust regenerative response following multiple types of cardiac injury (surgical amputation, cryoinjury and myocardial infarction). This regenerative capacity appears to be primarily driven by the proliferation of resident cardiomyocytes. However, the molecular mechanisms that regulate cardiomyocyte proliferative potential and cardiac regenerative capacity in mammals are poorly understood.
Our laboratory at The University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, is trying to unravel the molecular mechanisms that drive cardiac regeneration. Some of the projects currently being pursued in our laboratory include:
Post-natal control of cardiac gene regulatory networks.
Epigenetic modifications are critical for the precise temporal regulation of gene expression during heart development. We are trying to map the changes in the genomic landscape during post-natal heart development to identify the molecular drivers of cardiac regeneration during early developmental stages.
Modelling human heart development using bioengineered heart muscle.
Recent advances in stem cell sciences and tissue engineering are providing unparalleled opportunities to generate human heart tissues in a dish. We are using human bioengineered heart muscle to understand the mechanisms that regulate the developmental maturation of human heart muscle.
Functional genomic screens for cardiovascular drug discovery.
We are also applying unbiased screening approaches to identify novel therapeutic candidates for cardiac regeneration.
American Heart Association (AHA)
The Australasian Society for Stem Cell Research (ASSCR)
The Australian Network of Cardiac and Vascular Developmental Biologists (ANCVDB)
NHMRC - Discovery of novel heart failure therapeutics via development of a next generation therapeutic screening platform: Force-generating human heart tissue micro-arrays - $448,400
Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical and Biological)
PhD (Biotechnology, The University of Queensland)