Divisional Research Themes
- Developmental and Stem Cell Biology
- Cardiovascular Science
- Dr Nicola Smart, BHF Intermediate Basic Science Research Fellow
- Dr Sveva Bollini, Post-doctoral Fellow
- Dr Filipa da Costa Simoes, Post-doctoral Fellow
- Dr Jana Koch, Post-doctoral Fellow (joint with Prof Roger Patient)
- Dr Anke Smits, Post-doctoral Fellow
- Dr Joaquim Vieira, Post-doctoral Fellow
- Dr Mark Evans, Lab Manager
- Richard Tyser, PhD student
- Dr Catherine Risebro, Post-doctoral Fellow, UCL ICH
- Gemma Balmer, PhD student, UCL ICH
- Karina Dube, PhD student, UCL ICH
- Sara Howard, PhD student, UCL ICH
- Linda Klotz, PhD student, UCL ICH
- Lousia Petchey, PhD student, UCL ICH
- Abbygail Shaw, PhD student, UCL ICH
- Dr Chia Yeo, PhD student, UCL ICH
- Prof Gero Miesenbock, Department of Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics
- Prof Roger Patient, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine
- Prof Shoumo Bhattacharya, Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics
- Drs Paul Winyard and David Long, Nephro-urology Unit, UCL-Institute of Child Health
- Dr Sean Davidson, The Hatter Cardiovascular Institute, UCL
- Dr Mark Lythgoe, UCL Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging
- Prof Andrew Tinker, QMUL William Harvey Research Institute
- Prof Paul Martin, School of Biochemistry, University of Bristol
- Bollini Sveva, Smart Nicola, and Riley Paul R (2011) Resident cardiac progenitor cells: at the heart of regeneration. J Mol Cell Cardiol, 50(2):296-303.
- Conway Simon J and Riley Paul R (2011) Current state of congenital heart research and clues to future directions. Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol, 91(6):421-2.
- Khodiyar Varsha K, Hill David P, Howe Doug, Berardini Tanya Z, Tweedie Susan, Talmud Philippa J, Breckenridge Ross, Bhattarcharya Shoumo, Riley Paul, Scambler Peter, and Lovering Ruth C (2011) The representation of heart development in the gene ontology. Dev Biol, 354(1):9-17.
- Riley Paul R and Smart Nicola (2011) Vascularizing the heart. Cardiovasc Res, 91(2):260-8.
- Smart Nicola, Bollini Sveva, Dube Karina N, Vieira Joaquim M, Zhou Bin, Davidson Sean, Yellon Derek, Riegler Johannes, Price Anthony N, Lythgoe Mark F, Pu William T, and Riley Paul R (2011) De novo cardiomyocytes from within the activated adult heart after injury. Nature, 474(7353):640-4.
Major Research Programme
To investigate the potential of the epicardium as a source of multipotent cardiovascular progenitor cells in the adult heart capable of initiating neovascularisation and myocardial repair.
Left: E9.5 GFP+ mouse heart; Right: Histological section through human foetal heart (Carnegie Stage 18)
Left: Adult mouse heart section: red, muscle; green, epicardium/vessels. Right: Highlighted in red: epicardium and coronary arteries
The application of epicardial cell biology to treatment of cardiovascular injury originates from the epicardium’s developmental plasticity and from the ability to reactivate these properties in the adult heart. The embryology underlying epicardium-derived cells (EPDCs) sets them apart from other adult cardiac stem cell populations and provides the rational underpinning prospective pharmacological and genetic manipulations aimed at mobilising and guiding these cells towards regenerating the injured adult heart.
Left: GFP-labelled epicardium derived cells (EPDCs) in culture. Right: Adult explant and emerging EPDCs.
• To define the regenerative potential of activated adult EPDCs, as directly compared to their developmental counterparts
• To determine the molecular signature which defines the active population and mechanistically how these cells can be reprogrammed towards embryonic potency
• To identify novel inducers and signalling pathways which might be extrapolated to human EPDCs and facilitate drug discovery.
Left: Thymosin beta4-induced adult neovascularisation within an expanded epicardium. Right: De novo EPDC-derived cardiomyocyte coupled to surviving
myocardium after injury.
Paul Riley took up the Chair of Development and Reproduction in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics on 1st October 2011, having been awarded a British Heart Foundation Personal Chair of Regenerative Medicine to support this position. He was previously Professor of Molecular Cardiology at the UCL-Institute of Child Health, London, where he was a principal investigator within the Molecular Medicine Unit at UCL-ICH since 1999. Prior to this, he obtained his PhD at UCL (1992-1995) and completed post-doctoral fellowships at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Toronto, Canada and the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, Oxford (1996-1999). In 2008, Professor Riley was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Council on Basic Sciences. The award recognises a landmark discovery in the field of basic cardiovascular science when his team found that Thymosin b4 could mobilise dormant cells from adult epicardium to form new blood vessels in the heart, a major step towards finding a DIY mechanism to repair injury following a heart attack.