Cardiac regeneration and repair

The long-held dogma that adult mammal hearts have no ability to regenerate in response to disease or injury has recently been challenged with the report of stem-like cells identified in the heart. However, how to harness the potential of these stem cells - which are rare in adults and are compromised by aging - remains a significant challenge. 

Green tissue macrophages that may regulate resident stem cell-mediated regeneration in the heart (Alex Pinto & Nadia Rosenthal)
This research program will explore - at a molecular and systems biology level - how “stemness” is maintained and how cardiac stem cell populations compromised by aging and disease might be rejuvenated. By better understanding the processes that underlie this phenomenon, and working in collaboration with biomaterials scientists, this consortium will advance the discovery of novel pharmaceuticals, bioengineered matrices, and cell-based therapies for heart disease.

This program aims to answer key biological questions:
  1. Investigate how capacity for regeneration is maintained in the heart, and how it can be rejuvenated in aging and disease.
  2. Define the molecular underpinnings of cardiac repair.
  3. Determine whether molecular switches underlie cell cycle re-entry of adult cardiomyocytes in mammals vs more regenerative vertebrates.
Led by Professor Richard Harvey and Dr Nathan Palpant this program includes leading experts from Monash University, Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, University of Queensland, and University of New South Wales.