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At the frontier of medicine: fixing hearts by finding out what makes them tick

29 November 2019
Meet Australian researchers who use stem cells to advance our understanding of how the body develops and what happens during disease.

Associate Professor Enzo Porrello is a stem cell scientist at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and University of Melbourne. He is investigating using bioengineered heart tissue, derived from stem cells, as a potential therapy to correct heart defects in children. 

Enzo has made several contributions to field of heart developmental and regenerative biology over the past 10 years. 

His long-standing collaboration with Associate Professor James Hudson from QIRM Berghofer led to a discovery of a previously unappreciated regeneration window in newborn’s hearts. 

Now Enzo and James want to understand what happens during this window of time, to firstly engineer better tissues in a dish and secondly to investigate better therapeutic drugs for heart failure and regeneration. 

Their work building function heart tissue from stem cells is also revealing how heart cells work together and how they could make artificial pumps for children with congenital heart conditions. 

Enzo has a background in cardiology and developmental biology and James has a background in bioengineering; these complementary skills sets have allowed them to tackle some big questions. 

Listen to Enzo share and insight into his research and how the power of partnership in science can lead to new discoveries and new fields of research. 


Australian stem cell researchers are making important discoveries in the lab, that will move research outcomes towards clinical applications. Watch their videos.