Cardiac repair strategies
New methods and models to study cardiac repair.
Our final goal is to provide new muscle for the damaged heart, but natural repair is low and there are barriers to retention of implanted stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes. We are developing methods and models to study and overcome these. We are using ultrathin slices of heart tissue from animal and human heart to study how the human stem cell-cardiomyocytes integrate, with new fluorescent reporters to show coupling between the host and implanted cells. Biomaterials are being designed to improve retention of the implanted cells, as well as controlling their tendency to cause rhythm disturbances. Finally, animal models are used to test the biomaterial/stem cell patch to prepare them for clinical use: we have an advanced imaging facility to study the patched hearts in detail under anaesthesia.