My research revolves around changes in whole heart and cellular function with increasing age, from the perspectives of normal physiology and pathophysiology. My particular area of study are the changes in ionic regulation with age leading to the predisposition to arrhythmias, and other disorders of excitation and contraction within the elderly heart. Primarily my research group have used proteomics to examine the associated changes in protein expression and regulatory systems responsible for producing the age-associated changes in phenotype, coupled with functional measurements using electrophysiology. Recent targeted proteins in the mammalian heart have been the gap junctional subunit connexin43, the differing isoforms of the voltage-gated sodium ion channels and voltage-gated calcium ion channels. Our studies have conclude the change in expression of these ion channels expressed in the age heart, leave the age heart in a state of imbalance and experience high frequency of arrhythmias. Furthermore, we are now using interventions to protect the heart as it ages from the onset of associated pathologies, ranging from the global (e.g. exercise interventions), to the specific pharmaceutical agents (e.g. directed manipulation of signaling pathways), leading a novel approach to reduce AF events, to ultimately become a therapeutic strategy to prevent and treat AF in the elderly who are often unfit for surgery.
Dr Jones welcomes applicants with experience in mammalian physiology (at degree level) and specific knowledge of the heart. Applicants should understand how ion channels contribute and give rise to the normal action potential of the mammalian heart at a basic degree level, as her research focuses on cardiac dysfunction and how it arises (for example with ageing). The techniques used in the laboratory are proteomic, genomic and functional. At the time of appointment, specific projects will be offered in line with ongoing projects in the group.
- Stephanie Cooper, Age-associated changes in the expression of voltage-gated sodium channel isoforms found within the rat heart, 2013-2019 (as primary supervisor)
- Amy Dawson, Paper Microfluidics for Clinical Diagnostics Using Colorimetric Detection Methods, 2010-14 (as second supervisor)
- Dr Fiona Hatch, Age-Associated Changes to Calcium Handling Proteins across the Whole Heart, 2009-13 (as primary supervisor)
- Amy Dawson, Age-Dependent Expression and Distribution of Cardiac Progenitor Cells in the Adult Heart, 2009-10 (Research MSc, as primary supervisor)
Current MD supervisions
-Dr Emmanuel Isaac, Discovering mechanisms of AF. 2018-20
(Primary supervisor Sandra Jones, second supervisor Prof M Loubani)