My current research in the Watkins group is focussed on investigating the role of the inflammatory system in the progression of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) - an inherited heart muscle disease that affects 1:500 people globally.
A number of genetic mutations are known to cause HCM however, people with the same genetic mutation can often present with varying severity. This has led us to interrogate the immune system to identify what role it plays in the pathological progression of HCM.
I am also interested in identifying the role that platelets may play in the pathophysiology of HCM. Little is known about the impact that platelets may have in this disease, and I am keen to carry out preliminary experiments in order to ascertain their influence.
My research experience so far has centered on understanding the role of non-cardiomyocytes in cardiovascular diseases. During my PhD, I investigated the role of haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) in myocardial ischaemia-reperfusion (IR) injury (mimicking a heart attack). This was highlighted through the beneficial effects of HSCs in reducing thrombo-inflammation, reducing oxidative damage and maintaining microvascular integrity following IR injury.
Imaging the injured beating heart intravitally and the vasculoprotection afforded by haematopoietic stem cells.
Kavanagh DPJ. et al, (2019), Cardiovasc Res, 115, 1918 - 1932
Tspan18 is a novel regulator of the Ca2+ channel Orai1 and von Willebrand factor release in endothelial cells.
Noy PJ. et al, (2019), Haematologica, 104, 1892 - 1905