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Paul Riley

Transcriptional control of heart development and models of congenital heart disease and Resident stem/progenitor cell-derived cardiac repair and regeneration.

Research Areas

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Department Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics
Paul Riley

Prof Paul Riley

Major Research Programme
To investigate the potential of the epicardium as a source of multipotent cardiovascular progenitor cells in the adult heart capable of initiating neovascularisation and myocardial repair.  

The application of epicardial cell biology to treatment of cardiovascular injury originates from the epicardium’s developmental plasticity and from the ability to reactivate these properties in the adult heart. The embryology underlying epicardium-derived cells (EPDCs) sets them apart from other adult cardiac stem cell populations and provides the rational underpinning prospective pharmacological and genetic manipulations aimed at mobilising and guiding these cells towards regenerating the injured adult heart.

•    To define the regenerative potential of activated adult EPDCs, as directly compared to their developmental counterparts
•    To determine the molecular signature which defines the active population and mechanistically how these cells can be reprogrammed towards embryonic potency
•    To identify novel inducers and signaling pathways which might be extrapolated to human EPDCs and facilitate drug discovery.

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Paul Riley will move to Oxford to take up the Chair of Development and Reproduction in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics from 1st October 2011 and has recently been awarded a British Heart Foundation Personal Chair of Regenerative Medicine to support this position.  He is currently Professor of Molecular Cardiology at the UCL-Institute of Child Health, London, where he has been a principal investigator within the Molecular Medicine Unit at UCL-ICH since 1999.  Prior to this, he obtained his PhD at UCL (1992-1995) and completed post-doctoral fellowships at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Toronto, Canada and the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, Oxford (1996-1999). In 2008, Professor Riley was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Council on Basic Sciences. The award recognises a landmark discovery in the field of basic cardiovascular science when his team found that Thymosin 4 could mobilise dormant cells from adult epicardium to form new blood vessels in the heart, a major step towards finding a DIY mechanism to repair injury following a heart attack.