UTS Biological Sciences Online Seminar
Topic: Matters of the heart: from 3D bioprinting to mating behaviour
Generation of Vascularised Heart Tissues using 3D Bioprinting Technology and Stem Cells
Speaker: Dr Camine Gentile
Bioprinting technology is currently investigated as an emerging technology to engineer the complex 3D microenvironment typical of tissues and organs. It is the layer-by-layer deposition of biological material (“bio-ink”) within a bio-compatible matrix (“hydrogel”) with defined features to better mimic the target tissue or organ. Our group has bioengineered 3D, beating “mini-hearts” as “vascularised cardiac spheroids” by co-culturing stem cell-derived cardiac cells at ratios approximating the ones found in humans. These present molecular, cellular and extracellular features that better approximate the in vivo morphology, biochemistry and physiology typical of the human heart. Vascularised cardiac spheroids are used as “bio-ink” to 3D bioprint human heart tissues and have been employed to investigate molecular and cellular mechanisms regulating cardiotoxicity, angiogenesis, fibrosis and regeneration of the heart in vitro and in vivo. Used as building blocks for the bioprinting of personalised human heart tissues, patient-derived cardiac spheroids offer a promising approach to develop personalised therapies to prevent patient-specific toxic effects of drugs and to promote heart regeneration in heart failure patients.
About the speaker
Dr Carmine Gentile, PharmD/PhD, FAHA, is a Lecturer within the School of Biomedical Engineering and leads the Cardiovascular Regeneration Group both at UTS and at the Kolling Institute/University of Sydney. He received his PharmD at the University of Pisa, Italy and his PhD at the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA, funded by a prestigious American Heart Association Fellowship. Since 2013 Dr Gentile has worked in Australia at the Heart Research Institute, the University of Sydney and now at UTS, supported by several awards and grants, working within a multidisciplinary team with scientists, industry partners and clinicians to quickly translate his findings from bench to bedside. Dr Gentile is an internationally recognized expert in the field of 3D bioprinting and stem cell technologies and his more recent studies focus on novel molecular and cellular approaches to treat cardiovascular disease, including myocardial infarction and heart failure. These studies are based on the use of “mini-hearts” he developed as “bioink” for human heart tissues. 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. His research received media attention and featured on ABC News, ABC Catalyst, Daily Telegraph, TEDx and Channel 7News.
Love at first flight: An investigation of the complex cues that mediate blowfly sexual behaviour
Speaker: Nathan Butterworth
The blowflies (Diptera: Calliphoridae) are some of the most commonly encountered insects and perform a diversity of crucial ecosystem services, acting as primary decomposers, parasites, and pollinators across a wide range of habitats. Given their ecological diversity, they make a fantastic model system for evolutionary research. Despite this, very little is known regarding their behavioural ecology - particularly their mating behaviour, which has been studied in less than 1% of described species. Presumably, visual cues such as movement and wing reflectance are the primary means by which blowflies identify potential mates, but there is limited evidence to support this. In addition, the role of chemical cues (pheromones) in blowfly sexual behaviour remains unclear. Here, I present the results of my PhD, which aimed to investigate the reproductive behaviour of blowflies, and to assess the role of pheromones known as cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) in mate identification. Using behavioural assays and comparative analyses, I investigated the evolution of CHCs among all nine Australian species of the blowfly genus Chrysomya and assessed their behavioural role in the widespread species Chrysomya varipes. I also documented the novel and highly unique mating behaviour of a species endemic to Australasia, Chrysomya flavifrons. For the first time, this research allows us to take a deep look into the surprisingly complex sex lives of blowflies and significantly broadens our understanding of sexual communication in this fascinating group of insects.
About the speaker
Dr Nathan Butterworth completed his PhD at the University of Wollongong in early 2020. He is now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Technology Sydney specialising in sexual selection and insect behavioural ecology. His current projects focus on the evolution of sexual signals in calyptrate flies.