Professor Paul Riley, University of Oxford
Professor Eldad Tzahor, Weizmann Institute of Science
In this project, Professor Riley’s expertise in the study of the outer layer of the heart, known as the epicardium, which has proven to be a source of cells that can help regenerate the heart, has been allied with Professor Tzahor’s knowledge of the processes involved in growing large numbers of heart muscle cells.
Together the researchers are studying the area between the cells (ECM), with the aim of understanding how the ECM communicates with other cells to trigger repair. Understanding this communication may allow the them to find new ways to help the heart regenerate after damage.
A specific component of the ECM called Agrin, is a focus for the project whereby Professors Riley and Tzahor are looking at another way cells communicate, focusing on the signals that can trigger changes that lead to repair. The project now focuses on deciphering the effect of Agrin on cardiac regeneration with emphasis on the connection between Agrin and immune cells.