Studying heart disease – When the heart loses its beat

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common human inherited heart disease with a prevelance of 1:200 in the general population. The majority of the HCM patients carry mutations in genes that are important for beating of the heart. To date, it has been extensively studied and very well described, yet, HCM patients are still, solely treated symptomatically.

Body area Heart


To date, there is no curative treatment for HCM. Therefore, we mimic HCM in the lab by generating stem cell derived heart cells from patients and healthy individuals, called disease modelling. Our stem cell model helps us to better characterise the disease, as we can manipulate and treat the cells in culture. In combination with cutting-edge technologies, this allows us to unravel the underlying disease mechanism, ultimaltely aiming to develop curative therapies.

reNEW research

I am part of the Heart Regeneration and Disease Group at reNEW Melbourne that is led by Prof. Enzo Porello and A/Prof David Elliott. Our lab focusses on the heart and novel ways how to cure heart diseases. Thus, we have developed a unique human stem cell model that allows us to study heart diseases in a dish, either in 2D or in a 3D cardiac organoid.

Image description

Stem cell derived heart cells with their characteristic striped pattern that its formed by its beating units, the sarcomeres, as well as its nuclei in blue.


Dr Antonia Zech, David Elliott & Enzo Porello’s lab, MCRI, reNEW Melbourne