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Student research project

Supervisors: Associate Professor Bing Wang and Professor David Kaye

Project summary

Investigation of novel mechanisms involved in fibrotic diseases and development of novel therapeutics to treat fibrotic diseases including heart failure.

The pathophysiologic progression to heart failure is a complex process. Initial insults such a myocardial infarction or chronic hypertension, trigger the activation of neurohormonal systems in the body in an attempt to restore cardiac function. However, long-term activation of this system becomes maladaptive by causing cellular and molecular changes in the heart that leads to cardiac remodelling and eventually leading to heart failure. Cardiac fibrosis is one of the key cardiac remodelling processes. Thus, anti-fibrotic therapy could be of particular important in the management of heart failure.

We have recently validated a novel pathway that is particularly important for cardiac fibrosis. In collaboration with Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS), we have developed novel compounds that inhibit the fibrotic pathway with anti-fibrotic activity.

This project will provide opportunity for the student to take part in this discovery and development process. The project will initially focus on cell-based assays to characterise the effects of those novel compounds including signalling pathways involved. This will validate the mode of action of the compounds and the role of the signalling molecule play in cardiovascular diseases.

From this project, the candidate will acquire skills and experience in aseptic primary cell culture technique, the ability to perform various cell based assays, RNA extractions and real time qPCR, Western blot analysis and knowledge of cardiac pharmacology.

This project is suitable for a Masters or PhD student.

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