Cardiac Technology Centre

Head of Laboratory

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Overview of research program

The Cardiac Technology Centre (CTC) has continued to build on its strengths in Translational Research by using sheep models. There is no substitute for this approach in studying the heart and circulation because of their dynamic nature and because small animals, such as rodents, mostly provide 'insights' that often require intermediate testing and validation in large animal models before application in the human setting. Our aim has been to create a bridge between rapid advances in cellular and molecular biology and classical physiological measurements in whole animals. This Integrative Physiology approach is epitomised by our studies of heart damage and repair which examine the role of stem cell therapy in replacing contractile muscle and blocked blood vessels.

Our aims include refining understanding of the coronary circulation in sheep, its similarity and differences from humans, and the study of various methods for creating myocardial infarcts that are reproducible, quantifiable and credible mimics of human heart attacks. This will be the platform for study of heart repair mechanisms which use drugs, stem cells or heart assist devices. It should make our Centre increasingly attractive for collaborations with groups who wish to validate basic findings obtained in rodents or those wishing to test leading edge cellular, pharmacological and device based therapeutic candidates.

Our work has had a consistent flavour of device technologies which are more important in the cardiovascular system than in other fields. Sensitive measurements of the mechanical performance and energetics of the intact in vivo heart of sheep, coupled with expertise in device technology and materials science as well as in Intellectual Property, patenting and commercialisation issues have been a differentiating feature of our work.

Our centre has recently moved to the new $99 million Research & Education (Kolling) Building jointly funded by the NSW Health Department and University of Sydney. This has allowed the aggregation of basic and applied science groups and Clinician Scientists, with creation of synergies and sharing of highly specialised equipment. It provides unparalleled opportunities for Translational Research with arguably the most advanced on campus large animal facility in the country with the advantages of ready access to clinical interventional and experimental surgical skills. In anticipation of this move we totally re-equipped our laboratory with state-of the art haemodynamic measuring devices, probes and catheters and data analysis and archival capability. We are quite excited with the installation of a dedicated Digital Angiography Suite and with potential access to a 'High Field (1.5 Tesla)' Magnetic Resonance Imaging facility on campus.

Major funding sources

  • National Health & Medical Research Council
  • North Shore Heart Research Foundation
  • Office of Science & Medical Research

Selected publications

Gallagher G, Menzie S, Huang Y, Jackson C, Hunyor SN. Regional cardiac dysfunction is associated with specific alterations in inflammatory cytokines and matrix metalloproteinases after acute myocardial infarction in sheep. Basic Res Cardiol. 2007 102(1):63-72.

Gallagher GL, Huang Y, Morita S, Zielinski RR, Hunyor SN. Efficacy and mechanisms of biventricular and left/right direct cardiac compression in acute heart failure sheep. Artif Organs. 2007 31(1):39-44.

Gallagher GL, Huang Y, Zielinski RR, Morita S, Hunyor SN. Effect of direct cardiac compression on left ventricular axial dynamics in sheep. [[||ASAIO J]]. 2007 53(3):292-7.

Gallagher GL, Jackson CJ, Hunyor SN. Myocardial extracellular matrix remodeling in ischemic heart failure. Front Biosci. 2007 12:1410-9.

Hunyor, SN. Book Review on Hypertension: Hot Topics. Eds: Egan BM, Basile, JM, Lackland DT. Hanley and Belfus, Philadelphia. 2004 ISBN 1-56053-578-4. Heart Lung and Circulation. 2006 X:4 Aug 281-282.

Mau J, Menzie S, Ward M, Bundgaard M, Hunyor S. Time-dependent response of both ventricles following septal ablation: Implications for bi-ventricular support following LVAD placement. J Thor Cardiovasc Surg. 2007 134:579-86.

Weir C, Morel-Kopp M-C, Gill A, Tinworth K, Ladd L, Hunyor SN, Ward M. Mesenchymal stem cells: isolation, characterisation and in vivo fluorescent dye tracking. Heart, Lung and Circulation. (In Press) April 2008.

Major collaborations

  • Dr Ron Clarke (University of Sydney, Australia)
  • Associate Professor Francesca Marassi (Burnham Institute for Medical Research, USA)
  • Professor Kaethi Geering and Stephanie Bibert (University of Lausanne, Switzerland)
  • Dr Flemming Cornelius (Institute of Physiology and Biophysics, Denmark)