qs-photo_w.pngDr 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.”

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.