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The Heart Research Institute (HRI) is thrilled to welcome the Cardiovascular Regeneration Group, led by Dr Carmine Gentile, to the team.

Dr Gentile is an internationally recognised expert in the field of 3D bioprinting and stem cell technologies. His more recent studies focus on novel molecular and cellular approaches to treat cardiovascular disease (CVD), including myocardial infarction and heart failure.

The group’s mission is to examine the underlying aspects of CVD using state-of-the-art bioengineered heart tissues created in their laboratory. Their research could offer a real, long-term alternative to heart transplants for patients with heart failure.

“Our team has developed advanced bioengineered heart tissues as ‘mini-hearts’ that mimic the behaviour of the heart using miniature replicas composed of the same cells found in the human heart,” Dr Gentile said.

“Due to their unique ability to mimic a human heart in miniature, our mini-hearts are used to predict the effects of drugs on the human heart. They can also model complex diseases, such as a heart attack and heart failure in a test tube, with the potential to prevent future heart damage. Additionally, when combined with specialised 3D bioprinters, mini-hearts can be used to print more complex tissues to repair a failing heart following their transplantation.”

CVD, including myocardial infarction and heart failure, is a global killer, with one new heart attack every 10 minutes in Australia.

“Our ultimate goal is to translate our findings from the bench to the bedside, thanks to the support of our multidisciplinary team comprising experts in cardiovascular pathophysiology, tissue engineering and medicine.”

The team is strategically located at HRI and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), integrating an extensive network of expertise in both industry and academia.

Prof Andrew Coats AO, the CEO and Scientific Director of HRI, has warmly welcomed Dr Gentile and the Cardiovascular Regeneration Group.

“Carmine and his team will be an excellent addition to the research portfolio at HRI, opening the door to new collaborations and research pathways,” he said. “Carmine’s new organoid models open an exciting way to evaluate the effects on novel drugs on the heart in a more realistic model of how human heart cells behave.”

At HRI, the team will focus on novel strategies to prevent and treat CVDs using mini-hearts from either commercially available or patient-derived stem cells, with a focus on personalised medicine, paving the way for future clinical trials and therapeutic interventions.

“Our bioengineered-focused solutions have the potential to reduce morbidity and improve the quality of life for individuals affected by CVDs,” Dr Gentile said.

“Ultimately, the impact of our research extends to improving long-term cardiovascular health outcomes for patients, saving the lives of millions of people that every year would otherwise die from CVD either directly or as a consequence of undesired effects of drugs.”

Dr Gentile is no stranger to HRI, having previously been a Marcus Blackmore Research Fellow at the Institute. He received his BSc/MSc (Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technologies) and PharmD at the University of Pisa in Italy and went on to complete a PhD in Biomedical Sciences (Cardiovascular) at the Medical University of South Carolina in the USA, funded by a prestigious American Heart Association Fellowship.

He has worked in Australia since 2013, including at HRI, The University of Sydney and UTS, where he is currently a Senior Lecturer (Faculty) within the School of Biomedical Engineering (Faculty of Engineering and IT).

In 2016, he was invited as Visiting Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School, where he worked towards novel in-vitro models using mini-hearts to study human heart physiology.

The Gentile lab includes:
- Dr Carmine Gentile
- Laura Vettori
- Clara Liu Chung Ming
- Wafa Al Shamery
- Niina Matthews
- Milad Sabbagh
- Martine Tarsitano
- Ilaria Gisone
- Demi Scheerman
- Linda Dement
- Dana Idais

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