Our lab is trying to unravel the molecular mechanisms that regulate cardiac regenerative capacity in mammals. We use cutting-edge molecular techniques to understand the epigenetic changes that occur during postnatal heart development and regeneration. Our major research interest is in trying to decipher the mechanisms by which large gene regulatory networks are altered in the heart shortly after birth and to understand how these changes contribute to cardiomyocyte maturation and regenerative arrest. We hope to ultimately unravel key mechanisms that bestow the neonate with regenerative potential and re-activate these processes in adulthood for cardiac repair.

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 myocardial injury (apical resection and myocardial infarction), which appears to be driven by the proliferation of resident cardiomyocytes. The molecular mechanisms that regulate cardiomyocyte proliferative potential and cardiac regenerative capacity in mammals are poorly understood.

View our lab on the UQ Centre for Cardiac and Vascular Biology site