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Dr Thomas Iskratsch
Dipl.-Ing. (Equiv. to MSc/MEng), PhD


Research Funding

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Current Funded Research Projects

The regulation of mechanosensing in healthy and atherosclerotic VSMC

Funding source: BHF British Heart Foundation
Start: 01-12-2020  /  End: 30-11-2023
Amount: £238021

Vascular smooth muscle cellsplay a central role in the onset and progression of many cardiovascular diseases, from atherosclerosis to vascular injury, where their migration, matrix secretion, or degradation functions are deregulated. Here we are investigating how the phenotypic switch is regulated through physical/mechanical stimuli.

3D Photoelectrochemical Imaging in Porous Light-Addressable Structures

Funding source: EPSRC Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Start: 04-01-2021  /  End: 03-10-2022
Amount: £202248

Investigating the cardiomyocyte rigidity sensing mechanism with micro patterned surfaces and nanopil

Funding source: BBSRC Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Start: 01-09-2018  /  End: 31-08-2021
Amount: £490545

The composition and the stiffness of the cardiac extracellular matrix change during development or in heart disease. Cardiomyocytes and their progenitors sense these changes, which decides over Cardiomyocyte fate. Our preliminary data suggested a cardiomyocyte specific rigidity sensing mechanism which we will investigate here in detail.

Previous Funded Research Projects

Mechano-regulation of myofibril formation and cardiac remodelling

Funding source: British Heart Foundation
Start: 01-01-2015  /  End: 31-12-2018

While chemical cues have well-established roles in guiding cell differentiation, there is growing evidence of a role for mechanical stimuli, such as matrix rigidity during heart development and disease. However, the mechanisms that underlie this mechanical signalling remain elusive. Here we will study this by combining cell biology, biophysics and nanotechnology in a three-tiered approach in which we examine the cardiomyocyte response to A) passive resistance and varying rigidity; B) active force; C) no force. Detailed understanding will lead to novel and valuable insights into mechanisms of cardiac mechanosensing and could result in novel or improved therapeutic strategies for cardiac diseases.