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Yiangos Psaras

MSc; BSc (Hons)

DPhil Student

I am a DPhil student, working under the supervision of Dr Matthew Daniels (Cardiovascular Medicine) and Professor Edmond Walsh (Engineering Sciences). My work focuses on functional phenotyping of stem cell models of cardiac disease, with emphasis on the production of force from stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes.

The cumulative power produced when a heart's cells contract is the driving force behind the heart's function. We know that production of force is compromised in heart disease, giving a smaller functional output for the heart as an organ and amounting to a huge number of deaths. To date, methods to measure contractile force are time demanding, require high manual input and complicated analysis. These downsides result in very low throughput and hold back characterisation of models of cardiac disease and drug discovery or development of alternate therapies.

My project focuses on developing a new method to measure the force produced from cardiomyocytes, aimed to eliminate these disadvantages. I follow a basic biology approach combined with materials science and stem cell technology. This work aims to facilitate force measurement from heart cells and change the current labour-intensive ways we have of carrying out research in underlying contractile mechanisms and drug discovery. In the process I'm also hoping to minimise cost of these protocols.

Prior to joining the University of Oxford, I completed an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Westminster, where I focused in biopolymers for tissue engineering. I also completed a master's degree in Nanotechnology and Regenerative Medicine at University College London, where I focused on the hypoxia pathway.