Cardiac cellular systems

Heart failure is a leading cause of mortality worldwide. Resulting from a wide range of aetiologies, heart failure is characterized by deleterious cardiac remodelling and decline in heart function, ultimately leading to organ failure and death. Currently there are no effective treatments for heart failure, and fundamental questions remain unanswered regarding the ways in which cardiac remodelling occurs and how it may be reversed.

Until recently the cellular composition of the heart was poorly defined. Using advanced genetic, flow cytometric and single cell transcriptomic approaches, our lab has shed new light on the cellular constituents of the heart by demonstrating that the heart is comprised of a complex and diverse ecosystem of non-myocytes. Based on these discoveries, new avenues of cardiovascular research involving the targeting and manipulation of specific cell types and networks are now possible. Today, virtually nothing is known about how the ecosystem of non-myocytes in the heart operate as a cell network.

Current projects

  • Determining the plasticity and elasticity of cardiac cell networks in the context of physiological stressors such as obesity and hypertension.
  • Determining the molecular and cellular drivers of these processes.
  • Development of unique genetic, computational biology, and imaging approaches to precisely study diverse cell populations in the heart.

Team members

Group leader: Alexander Pinto

Computational biologist: Malathi Dona

Research assistant: Gabriella Farrugia

PhD student: Charlie Cohen

Honours student: Crisdion Krstevski

Intern: Karen Huang