Heart disease is a major cause of premature death and increased morbidity in Western societies and claims more lives that all cancers combined. Our research, in broad terms, is aimed at defining the cellualr and molecular mechanisms that are altered in the diseased heart. We are particulalry interested in why it is that heart disease occurs mainly in the elderly and whether ageing itself causes changes to the hearts structure and the way it contracts which predisposes it to develop arrhythmias or to fail. Our longer term aims are to identify novel therapeutic approaches that can be translated from the experimental setting to the clinical arena in order to decrease the burden of heart disease or even cause its repair. To this end our research has three interlinked strands:
Heart Failure and Arrhythmias - using animals models to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms repsonsible for contractile dysfunction and high incidence of arrhythmias in patients with heart failure.
Ageing - using animal models to determine the alterations in cardiovascular physiology using both in vivo and in vitro methodologies
Extracellular Matrix Remodelling in the Heart - examining the alterations in the composition and structure of the cardiac ECM to determine the contribution of the hearts non contractile elements to deteriorating cardiac function in disease states and during ageing.
Heart Failure, Ageing, Arrhythmias, Extracellular Matrix
Cellular electrophysiology - single cell voltage / current clamp
Intracellular ion measurements - fluorescence microscopy
in vivo techniques - remote telemetry, electrophysiology, conductance catherterisation, pulse wave velocity analysis
Confocal microscopy - assessments of cellular and tissue structure and high resolution imaging of intracellular calcium concentration
Molecular biology & histology - protein and gene changes in the heart, siRNA gene silencing, cell culture, extracellular matrix turnover
Translational models of heart disease - Heart failure, ageing, atrial fibrillation, myocardial ischaemia, vagal nerve stimulation.