Diversity of myofibroblast phenotypes in heart failure

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
December 15, 2022
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Diversity of myofibroblast phenotypes in heart failure

(ref. BAP-2022-815)

Last modification : Tuesday, November 15, 2022

The Department of Cardiovascular Sciences brings together research groups in clinical cardiology and surgery, imaging and hemodynamics, and cellular and molecular cardiology, creating a rich environment for basic and translational studies of heart disease. The Department has well equipped lab space, with access to advanced facilities for in vivo and ex vivo experimental work. Within the group of Experimental Cardiology in the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, led by Profs. Karin Sipido and Llew Roderick, cardiac remodeling and ensuing heart failure is the leading research theme. Together with Profs. Piet Claus and Rik Willems, we study ischemic heart disease using large animal models, and with Prof. Filip Rega, we work on advanced heart failure and aging, including human tissue studies.

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Responsibilities

The postdoc position is embedded in the broader project on cardiac fibrosis and the underlying mechanisms, a core research topic in Experimental Cardiology. We have previously established the diversity of myofibroblasts in the heart after myocardial infarction (Nagaraju et al., 2017) and their interaction with cardiac myocytes (Nagaraju, Dries et al., 2019). We have also reported the reversibility of the myofibroblast phenotype in the human heart in late stages of heart failure (Nagaraju et al., 2019). Presently we address diversity of fibrosis and myofibroblast cell types in different disease etiologies through gene-expression studies, asking which cell profiles regulate unwanted fibrosis and hold promise of reversibility. Rich transcriptomics data are the starting point for functional mechanistic studies exploring phenotype diversity and impact on cardiac function, in particular interactions with cardiac myocytes. The postdoctoral fellow will lead these functional studies using live cell imaging and assessing membrane transport and electrophysiology, with manipulation of signaling pathways and gene expression.

External funding supports the position and the research. The Department of Cardiovascular Sciences has extensive facilities for functional confocal imaging, electrophysiology and molecular studies. Human fibroblastic cells and cells from ischemic cardiomyopathy are available in a continuous program and biobanking further supports access to tissue and cells.

Selected references

Nagaraju CK, et al. Myofibroblast Phenotype and Reversibility of Fibrosis in Patients With End-Stage Heart Failure. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2019 May 14;73(18):2267-2282.doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2019.02.049.

Nagaraju CK, Dries E, et al. 2019. Myofibroblast modulation of cardiac myocyte structure and function. Sci Rep, 2019; 9(1):8879. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-45078-2.

Nagaraju CK, et al. Global fibroblast activation throughout the left ventricle but localized fibrosis after myocardial infarction. Sci Rep. 2017 Sep 7;7(1):10801. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-09790-1.

Profile
  • You hold a PhD-degree or equivalent in Biomedical, Life Sciences, or related areas.
  • Experience in cell isolation and culturing, live cell imaging and electrophysiology is expected, preferably within the cardiovascular system.
  • You are flexible, able to work independently and have a problem-solving attitude.
  • You are highly motivated to work in a multidisciplinary research team, and have excellent communication skills in English.
  • International mobility is a plus.
  • Offer
  • We offer a fully funded postdoctoral fellowship for 2 years, with potential extension to a 3rd year. We will support applications for independent external funding.
  • We provide excellent opportunities for broader skill development.
  • You will join an enthusiastic, multinational research group.
  • KU Leuven offers a stimulating environment for international students and support for junior scientists.
  • Interested?

    For more information please contact Prof. dr. Karin Sipido, tel.: +32 16 33 08 15, mail: karin.sipido@kuleuven.be or Prof. dr. H Llewelyn Roderick, tel.: +32 16 37 71 50, mail: llewelyn.roderick@kuleuven.be.

    KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.

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