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Maria Imaz

Maria Imaz

BHF CRE 4 Year PhD Student


Departments and Institutes

BHF Cambridge Centre of Excellence:

Research Interests

Title: Investigating iPSC-derived macrophage and vascular smooth muscle cell stimulation with oxidised low-density lipoprotein as an effective model of foam cells in atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that is characterised by increased lipid accumulation in vessel walls, activation of endothelial cells, vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) proliferation and recruitment of immune cells including macrophages – leading to sustained inflammation and fibrous plaque formation.

During the initiation of atherosclerosis, macrophages and VSMCs ingest and retain large amounts of modified lipids, forming ‘foam cells’, which contribute to the inflammatory environment and progression of the atherosclerotic lesion.

My project focusses on further understanding the contribution of macrophages and VSMCs to the formation of foam cell populations, identifying signatures of such foam cells and whether human iPSC-derived macrophages and VSMCs exposed to oxidised low-density lipoprotein are able to effectively recapitulate this phenotype in vitro.

Looking forward, this will inform further research into the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis, with potential for exploration of therapeutic interventions to modify the pathological foam cell phenotype. 

Supervisor

Helle Jørgensen

Keywords

vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) ; single nuclei sequencing ; macrophages ; single cell analysis ; Atherosclerosis ; foam cells ; disease modelling ; cardiovascular disease ; induced pluripotent stem cells(iPSCs)

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