UCL Institute of Cardiovascular Science


Molecular Biology Development and Disease (MBDD) Laboratories

MBDD lab

Lead: Prof Vishwanie (Shanie) Budhram-Mahadeo 

Group Members:

  • Postdoctoral research fellow: Dr Laura Mele; Dr Parisa Samangouei

  • PhD students: Vaishaali Yogendran, Norfazlina Mohd Nawi; Suzianna Zaila Che Fauzi;

  • MSc students: Juliana Bong; Syed Naqvi-Bokhari; Nitin Balasubramani

  • Researcher (Part-time): Vivianna Masoud

Location: 3rd Floor, UCL Rayne Building, 5 University Street, London WC1E 6JF

Research Interest: Transcriptional regulation of gene expression in health and disease 

Research in the Molecular Biology Development and Disease (MBDD) aims to understand the molecular mechanisms that control cell fate and function under normal conditions but also to identify changes that drive pathological processes associated with diseases. Specifically, this research is focused on analysing the complex and tissue-specific roles for POU4F1/Brn-3a and POU4F2 Brn-3b family of transcription factors, which are known to control diverse cellular events including cell proliferation, apoptosis and differentiation in different cell types. Altered expression of these transcription factors have been implicated in events associated with different human diseases including cancers (tumour growth, drug resistance and metastasis), metabolic dysfunction (type II diabetes/obesity), vascular dysfunction (hypertension) and cardiac response to injury e.g hypertrophy and myocardial infarction (MI). This research utilises a number of model systems e.g. in-vitro cell line or primary cell culture models and in vivo models such as rodents and zebrafish and involve a range of molecular, cellular and imaging techniques.

Current research includes:

  • Using mutant models to identify key regulators of cardiac responses to different stresses e.g. physiological stress (exercise) or pathological stress/injury (coronary artery ligation or volume/pressure overload).

  • Investigating potential compensatory mechanisms that control early heart development using conditional KO mutant and transgenic zebrafish models (generated using CrispR/cas 9 gene editing).

  • Analysing regulators that control glucose intolerance/weight gain and investigating links with Type 2 Diabetes

  • Elucidating the link between metabolic dysfunction and development/progression of vascular defects.

  • Determining molecular mechanisms driving gene expression changes that prevent calcification and vascular remodelling

  • Investigating crosstalk between immune response and cardio metabolic dysfunction

  • Analysing regulators that contribute to drug resistance in cancer cells

At present research projects within this group are funded by the BHF and Malaysian Government PhD scholarship scheme. In early  2020, MBDD lab members included two postdoctoral research fellow, three PhD students and three MSc Research Students. Many of these studies are carried out in collaboration with other UCL and UK-based researchers as well as international groups. This provides an active research environment for teaching postgraduate students but also for undergraduates to gain insight into research-based projects.

Contact details: 

Professor Vishwanie (Shanie) Budhram-Mahadeo
Room 302, 3rd floor UCL Rayne Building 5 University Street London WC1E 6JF

email: v.budhram-mahadeo@ucl.ac.uk
phone: 020 3108 2160