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Student research project

Supervisor(s): Professor Judy de Haan, Professor Rebecca Ritchie and Dr Arpeeta Sharma

Research focus

This project will assess the protective effect of inflammasome inhibition on the development of cardiac injury in a diabetic setting.

Project summary

Diabetes increases the risk of heart failure by 2.5‐fold and leads to cardiac injury including cardiac remodeling (hypertrophy) and/or cell death. Inflammation is a major driver of the diabetes-mediated injury seen in heart failure. Activation of the NLRP3-inflammasome accelerates the processing of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1β and IL-18, resulting in cardiomyocyte injury and death. This project will use newly identified inhibitors of the NLRP3-inflammasome to investigate whether inflammasome inhibition limits diabetic cardiac injury.

These preclinical studies will be performed in diabetic mouse models as well as tissue cultured cells exposed to elevated glucose. Endpoints to be investigated include cardiomyocyte hypertrophy, cardiac fibrosis, inflammation and oxidative stress.

This project is suitable for an Honours or Masters student and will use various techniques, including:

  • in vivo models of diabetes
  • cell culture of cardiomyocytes
  • RNA isolation and qRT-PCR
  • protein isolation
  • Western blotting
  • histology and immunohistochemistry.

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With the rising number of Australians affected by diabetes, heart disease and stroke, the need for research is more critical than ever.

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