Dr Kazu Kikuchi

 - Affiliate Investigator

Research focus: Understanding the mechanisms of heart regeneration

Dr Kazu Kikuchi is head of the Cardiac Regeneration Laboratory in the Developmental and Stem Cell Biology Division at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute. He is an Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow, and Conjoint Senior Lecturer, St Vincent’s Clinical School, University of New South Wales. Dr Kikuchi’s most important contribution to the regeneration field was being the first to apply the Cre/loxP mediated fate-mapping technology to organ regeneration in the adult zebrafish. This work demonstrated that cardiac muscle regeneration in zebrafish occurs through proliferation of existing cardiomyocytes, rather than differentiation from stem/progenitor cells, which offers an avenue to more informatively pursue the cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating cardiac regeneration. This study also has important implications for clinical regenerative medicine, where there is a large unmet need to improve regeneration after injury, as well as to prevent progression to heart failure in those with other common forms of heart disease.