Understanding the differentiation of the endocardium (2017–2019)
So essential is the heart for our survival that its beat is often used as the indicator of life. The endocardium is the inner lining of the heart, it is required for signalling during heart development and is a major component of the valves, septa and trabeculae. Despite its indispensible role, almost nothing is known about how it forms and what signals direct its development. This proposal integrates two complementary approaches that have identified the earliest marker of endocardial differentiation and devised the method to make endocardium from stem cells. The project aims to understand the genetic regulation of endocardial development. Knowledge generated from this work will inform research into growing and regenerating damaged tissue.