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Student research project

Supervisor(s): Dr Alexander Pinto and Dr Malathi Imiyage Dona

Project summary

Using single-cell transcriptomic approaches and mouse models, we have shown that hypertension induces changes in the entire cellular landscape of the heart by altering the cells that form the heart and the genes expressed by them. Notably we have discovered new and previously undescribed cell types that emerge during hypertension that drive fibrosis — a key precursor for development of heart failure. Following induction of hypertension, we also found important differences in female and males heart function, fibrosis, cardiac cellularity and gene expression.

However, a key outstanding questions is whether all or any of the changes we have identified in our experimental models are reversible. To address this gap in our knowledge, from a cell networks perspective, this project aims to demonstrate how quickly and how reversibly hypertension alters cardiac cell networks, and whether these characteristics are sex-specific. The discovery that the heart has the capacity to reverse changes to its cellular network would be a major breakthrough.

Related methods, skills or technologies

The project is suitable for an Honours or PhD student and will involve applying various skills and techniques, including:

  • animal models of disease
  • bioinformatics
  • data analysis
  • flowcytometry
  • immunocytochemistry.

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