Dr Vinoj George

Title: Lecturer in Stem Cell Biology & Regenerative Medicine
Phone: +44(0)1782 674383
Email: v.george@keele.ac.uk
Location: Institute for Science & Technology in Medicine, Keele University, Guy Hilton Research Centre, Thornburrow Drive, Hartshill, Stoke-on-Trent ST4 7QB United Kingdom
Role: ISTM Research theme: Regenerative Medicine
Contacting me: By phone or email
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I was appointed as Lecturer in Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine in March 2017. My research interest is in understanding and modulating mechanisms associated with cardiovascular cell biology and cardiovascular diseases, with the aid of genome engineering in human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (hiPSCs).

As a bioscience graduate, originally from India, I did my Masters in Molecular Genetics in Leicester in 2000, when I started to apply my passion in understanding cardiovascular disease (ageing). This was followed by a PhD (2001-2005) with scholarship, to understand cell cycle biology in cardiac hypertrophy, using fission yeast as a model system (MRC, Harwell & University of Reading).  I stayed at the MRC for a year as Visiting Fellow before I moved to do a postdoc position (2006-9) in University of Surrey, researching into oxidative stress and endothelial dysfunction.

I moved to Nottingham in 2009 to pursue a second postdoc term which led to an academic position as Assistant Professor (teaching) in Stem Cell Biology with a research interest in differentiation and maturation of human stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes. During my time in Nottingham, I also served as Module Convenor of Embryonic Stem Cell Module for the MSc Stem Cell Technology course from 2013 till 2017.

My research interest focuses on modelling and modulating mechanisms in stem cell biology and stem cell-derived cardiomyocyte biology towards realising translational potential.                        

Key to this is:

(a) developing technologies for high efficiency in situ cardiomyocyte differentiation and maturation from human stem cells,

(b) studying cell signal mechanisms through transcription factor networks in context of biology or disease and,

(c) developing genetic strategies (dCas9 CRISPR optogenetics) for modelling cardiovascular mechanisms and disease biology at the cellular level.

This is hoped to lead to true in vitro models from patient-derived human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) that would mimic in vivo phenotypes and with the potential of using genome engineering to reverse phenotype-associated mechanisms. Auxiliary to this is the development of 3D engineered models of cardiac microenvironment from stem cells using Nanofiber technology to improve towards a mature cardiac profile.

With our potential of high throughput optogenetic screening (up to 96 different genetic targets), such iPSC-derived custom models can be applied as a platform to probe mechanisms related to various cardiac genetic disorders/cardiomyopathies, for novel drug targeting and to create relevant ex vivo tissue models. We are also currently applying our genetic strategies to understanding brain tumour cell biology (in collaboration with Nottingham). A synopsis of the technology and applications are shown in the figure.

 

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  • MRC DTP studentship (University of Nottingham) – 2015
  • University of Nottingham 1st Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine RPA meeting pilot grant (PI) - 2016
  • Attune NeXT International flow cytometry grant runner up - 2015
  • Cambridge Pump Prime funding (collaborator) – 2016
  • Brain Tumour Charity New Ideas Grant (co-I) – 2017