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Filipa Da Costa Simoes

PhD


Postdoctoral Research Scientist

  • BHF CRE Intermediate Transition Research Fellow
  • Junior Research Fellow at Kellogg College, University of Oxford

Cardiovascular disease leading to heart attack is the major cause of morbidity and mortality in humans and is a growing global health problem. The damage caused by a heart attack cannot be repaired in humans, leading to a permanent loss of cardiac tissue.

Unlike the human heart, the zebrafish maintains the ability to regenerate cardiac muscle lost by injury into adulthood. Activation of the epicardial layer occurs as an immediate response to damage and has been shown to be crucial for the regenerative process. My ongoing work focus on understanding epicardial cell differentiation potential and signalling, seeking to determine whether heterogeneity at the single-cell level correlates with distinct cell fates and function during cardiac development and regeneration. Funded by a recent British Heart Foundation CRE Intermediate Transition Fellowship award, I am also investigating the nature of the innate immune response to heart injury, in order to boost its regenerative capacity post-injury.

By using genome-wide approaches such as (sc)RNA-, biotinChIP-, ATAC-seq and Capture-C, combined with newly developed CRISPR/Cas9 toolkits, my ultimate goal is to understand how regulatory aspects of cardiovascular programs are integrated into complex and dynamic networks necessary for the correct development and function of the heart.