Centre for Cardiometabolic and Vascular Science
Our overall goal is to understand the regulation of lipid metabolism at the level of gene expression, mainly mediated by the Liver X Receptor (LXR). We focus on how metabolic and immune pathways impact the progression of metabolic, cardiovascular and autoimmune disease progression. We have generated unique molecular biology tools, knock-in and knock-out animal and cellular models that have increased our understanding of how the activity of these receptors is modulated in contexts where lipid homeostasis is disturbed. We have expertise in the functional analysis of global high-throughput datasets and have applied our expertise in transcriptomic, metabolomic and lipidomic analyses to investigate the crosstalk between lipid metabolism and immunity in animal models (diet-induced atherosclerosis and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) and in human immune cells. Currently, through multidisciplinary collaborative efforts, we aim to build novel computational tools to better understand sex- and disease-specific differences in immune cell lipid metabolism and generate signatures towards better patient stratification for future pharmacological or nutritional interventions.
Professor Zachary's research is supported by funding from the British Heart Foundation, his work investigates how the essential angiogenic factor, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF), signals endothelial cells form new blood vessels, with major interests in signalling in endothelial cell migration, and the role of Neuropilin-1. These questions are addressed using diverse techniques in cell and molecular biology, in-vivo zebrafish and genetically altered mutant mice models.
Part of the translational research is led by Professor John Martin on the use of stem cells for treating heart disease. The Centre received a grant by the UK Stem Cell Foundation to perform a clinical trial of autologous stem cells and repair of the heart immediately after a heart attack.