11 December 2015

Dr Quenten SchwarzThe University of South Australia’s Centre for Cancer Biology (CCB) researcher Dr Quenten Schwarz has been awarded a Future Leader Fellowship from the Heart Foundation to further his research into congenital heart defects.

Dr Schwarz, who heads the CCB’s Neurovascular Research Laboratory, is delighted to receive the four-year Fellowship for his work defining the mechanisms controlling cardiac outflow tract formation in the human embryo.

“This four-year Fellowship will allow me to pursue the translational relevance of some of our recent breakthrough discoveries towards better health outcomes,” he says.

Dr Schwarz says abnormal formation of the cardiac outflow tract and cardiac valves in the embryo lead to common malformations affecting over two per cent of all births.

“As these complications have poor clinical outcomes and require ongoing medical treatment throughout life, new diagnostic and therapeutic tools are desperately required,” he says.

“Taking advantage of state-of-the-art technologies, my research is aimed at identifying how a specific cell type, termed neural crest cells, controls formation of the cardiac outflow tract and cardiac valves.”

Dr Schwarz says information generated from his study stands to identify new molecular targets which may be used for predictive testing and regenerative therapies for these highly prevalent disorders.

“This research also stands to provide new insight towards regenerative therapies to replace heart muscle that is damaged as a result of common heart attacks.”

UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says he is pleased one of UniSA’s bright Senior Research Fellows has been recognised in the Heart Foundation’s 2015 research funding.

“I congratulate Quenten on receiving this Fellowship, especially as it is focussed on facilitating high impact research outcomes to solve important health problems,” Prof Lloyd says.

The four-year Heart Foundation Fellowship is for researchers with under 10 years’ experience since obtaining their PhD and comes with salary funding and research costs.

The Fellowship caps off a successful year for Dr Schwarz, with the Australian Society for Medical Research naming him the winner of the 2015 South Australian Leading Light Award for his achievements in developmental biology, while he also published research in prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) on how the jaw is formed.

Media contact: Kelly Stone office 8302 0963 mobile 0417 861 832 email Kelly.stone@unisa.edu.au


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