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  • 1 October 2020 to 31 July 2021
  • Awards: Pump-priming Awards

Within the Mommersteeg group, we recently introduced a new and exciting species of fish for investigating natural heart regeneration – the Mexican cavefish or more properly known as the Astaynax mexicanus. The Astyanax is uniquely a single species composed of two different types of fish, a river dwelling fish and a cave dwelling fish. We identified the river dwelling fish can regenerate its heart, while the cavefish could not - similar to humans. Critically, this has given us the opportunity to compare regeneration in the same species and in turn a novel way for establishing what underlies heart regeneration.

The research enabled by this award will delve deeper into the contrasting regenerative abilities in the Astyanax. In particular, the research will investigate the differences in cellular division in both the regenerating heart and non-regenerating heart, and the role the metabolism has on these differences. Ultimately, we aim to determine the ideal metabolic profile required for complete cellular division and heart regeneration.     

Multi-coloured image of adult zebrafish heart to show single cell sequencing data.

Image title: Adult regenerating zebrafish heart recreated with cell clusters from single cell sequencing data