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Fibroblast-myocyte cross-talk and cardiac electrophysiology

Guy’s Campus, London

22 Jan heart 2 Part of Centre for Human & Applied Physiological Sciences Seminar Series

Seminar with Dr Patrizia Camelliti

The heart is made up of many different cell types – myocytes which enable contraction, vascular cells which construct the blood supply network and fibroblasts which are traditionally thought to provide structural support.  In recent years, however, it has become clear that fibroblasts are not just a passive structural scaffold, but play an active role in heart function, particularly in disease where they become activated and their number increase to >70% of all heart cells. In this talk I will discuss cardiac fibroblast ability to modulate cardiac electrophysiology via direct cell coupling and paracrine communication in vitro and in situ in animal and human-based models.

Finally, I will describe a novel organotypic model for cardiac research, the living heart tissue slice, which we have developed to bridge the gap between cell culture and whole organ studies. Application of heart slices in drug safety screening, studies of functional and structural remodelling in cardiac pathologies, and platform for the development of gene and cell therapies will be discussed.

Biography

Dr Patrizia Camelliti is Lecturer in Cardiovascular Biology in the School of Biosciences & Medicine, at the University of Surrey. She received an undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Milan and a DPhil in Cardiac Physiology from the University of Oxford. Her research interests encompass the electrophysiological, structural and molecular mechanisms of cardiac disease; the role of fibroblasts as active players in cardiac remodelling; and the development of representative animal and human model systems to enable investigation of these processes and evaluation of potential therapies (including pharmacological, stem cell and gene therapies). Patrizia held a Fellowship at Christ Church College Oxford and a Fellowship at Imperial College London prior to her Lecturer appointment at Surrey.


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