The Priority Clinical Centre for Cardiovascular Health is seeking expressions of interest for a highly motivated student to conduct a Research Masters project investigating novel injectable polymer for cardiac regeneration under the supervision of Professor Andrew Boyle and Dr Lucy Murtha.
The heart is not able to repair itself after it is damaged, such as following a heart attack.
Heart muscle damaged by a heart attack is replaced by scar tissue, and never beats again. Stem cell therapy has potential to repair the damaged heart but has significant limitations.
Regeneration of heart tissue with stem cells requires a viable vascular bed and extracellular matrix (ECM) framework that can support the migration and differentiation of stem cells needed to restore the structural integrity and function of the injured myocardium.
Our laboratory is currently investigating the use of a novel biopolymer which forms a mechanical scaffolding when injected into the heart.
The aim is to integrate ECM peptides within a biopolymer to provide structural support and a favourable microenvironment for injected stem cells, leading to increased cell retention and survival, restoration of heart function, and ultimately, myocardial regeneration.
This honours project will perform pilot studies to investigate the feasibility of this approach in preclinical models of heart disease.
A scholarship is available at the Research Training Program stipend rate, which provides a full-time living allowance of $26,682 per annum (2017 rate, tax-free, indexed annually), for a period of up to 3.5 years (equivalent full-time student load).
Candidates with a degree in health, biomedical or biotechnology sciences (or equivalent) from a reputable Higher Education Organisation. English proficiency essential. The successful candidates will be expected to commence studies in January 2018. Mid-year applicants will also be considered. This opportunity is open to domestic and international candidates.