CBRI Seminar – Mirana Ramialison – 2nd September 2016
Decoding the heart: Mining of the regulatory genome
1% of Australian babies are born with Congenital Heart Disease (CHD), manifesting as anatomical heart defects that are detrimental for the newborn. Despite its prevalence, the aetiology of more than 80% of CHD cases remains unknown, making diagnosis and evaluation of the risk of the disease inheritance difficult. Our team has a long-standing interest in identifying the specific gene sets required for the formation of a healthy heart based on the principle that perturbations in these genes will impair normal development, resulting in anatomical cardiac defects. Thousands of genes are expressed in the heart at any given time point during development, but which of these genes are critical for heart formation and play a significant role in CHD? To address this, we designed bioinformatic pipelines to identify novel players in three layers of the cardiac gene regulatory network (kernel, downstream effectors and cis-regulatory modules). These bioinformatic pipelines offer the prospect of identifying new genes essential for cardiogenesis, irrespective of their expression pattern.
Dr. Ramialison is head of the Systems Developmental Biology Laboratory at the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute in Melbourne. She is an NHMRC/NHF Career Development Fellow and leads a multi-disciplinary team of bioinformaticians and molecular biologists, to study heart development, evolution and disease. She takes a systems biology approach to uncover the gene regulatory networks that control gene expression during cardiac development combined with experimental validation in zebrafish, and identify abnormal interactions that cause congenital diseases. Prior to joining ARMI in February 2014, Dr Ramialison was an EMBO and HFSP post-doctoral Fellow at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Sydney. She received her Engineering degree from the Ecole Superieure d’Ingenieurs de Luminy (France) and PhD at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (Germany).