- Smart Group Research Group
BHF Senior Basic Science Research Fellow
Following a PhD investigating mechanisms of PKC signalling at the University of London, I undertook postdoctoral research at King’s College London, exploring the signal transduction pathways that underlie cardiac ischaemic injury. I subsequently joined Professor Paul Riley’s group at the UCL-Institute of Child Health to study myocardial and coronary vessel development. Studies of the embryonic heart, including the identification of cardiovascular progenitors, are instructive towards understanding how to manipulate a regenerative response in the adult and this paradigm is the underlying basis of my research. Specifically, our work has revealed the potential to reactivate dormant adult epicardial cells to unleash a source of cardiac progenitors for repair of the injured heart. Similarly, from our studies on vascular development in the embryo, novel insights have emerged into mechanisms that appear important for maintenance of vessel stability throughout adult life. I joined the Department in June 2012 and was recently awarded a British Heart Foundation Senior Basic Science Research Fellowship. I was fortunate to be selected to receive funds raised by the Fleming family to support the BHF in marking the centenary of the James Bond creator, Ian Fleming. I was awarded the inaugural BHF Research Fellow of the Year in 2011, and the British Cardiovascular Society’s Michael Davies Early Career Award in 2012.
Essential role for thymosin β4 in regulating vascular smooth muscle cell development and vessel wall stability.
Rossdeutsch A. et al, (2012), Circ Res, 111, e89 - 102
De novo cardiomyocytes from within the activated adult heart after injury.
Smart N. et al, (2011), Nature, 474, 640 - 644
Identification of Thymosin β4 as an effector of Hand1-mediated vascular development.
Smart N. et al, (2010), Nat Commun, 1
Thymosin beta4 induces adult epicardial progenitor mobilization and neovascularization.
Smart N. et al, (2007), Nature, 445, 177 - 182
The stem cell movement.
Smart N. and Riley PR., (2008), Circ Res, 102, 1155 - 1168
Prospects for improving neovascularization of the ischemic heart: Lessons from development.
Smart N., (2017), Microcirculation, 24
Aberrant developmental titin splicing and dysregulated sarcomere length in Thymosin β4 knockout mice.
Smart N. et al, (2017), J Mol Cell Cardiol, 102, 94 - 107
Thymosin β4: multiple functions in protection, repair and regeneration of the mammalian heart.
Bollini S. et al, (2015), Expert Opin Biol Ther, 15 Suppl 1, S163 - S174
Human CD68 promoter GFP transgenic mice allow analysis of monocyte to macrophage differentiation in vivo.
Iqbal AJ. et al, (2014), Blood, 124, e33 - e44
Re-activated adult epicardial progenitor cells are a heterogeneous population molecularly distinct from their embryonic counterparts.
Bollini S. et al, (2014), Stem Cells Dev, 23, 1719 - 1730