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Cardiology Research Groups

Stathopoulou Group

Research Aims & Objectives

Genetic and epigenetic basis of congenital heart disease

We seek to explore the basic biological mechanisms that control normal cardiovascular development and understand how genetic and epigenetic factors can lead to congenital heart disease, with the long-term vision to enable the development of new therapeutic approaches.

Details of research interests

The heart is the first organ to develop during early embryogenesis and its correct formation depends on the coordinated addition of different types of progenitor cells, with distinct genetic programs. Precise spatiotemporal regulation of gene expression is vital for normal cardiac development and depends on transcription factors, morphogens and epigenetic modifiers. Disruption of gene expression during cardiogenesis may lead to congenital heart disease (CHD). CHD occurs during pregnancy and is the most frequent birth defect, affecting around 1 in 100 births. Defects can be in the structure or the function of the heart and great vessels.

We use mouse models of congenital heart disease and embryonic stem cells to gain insights into the developmental processes disrupted in disease. We employ a wide variety of techniques including molecular biology, gene editing, histology/anatomy and imaging as well as transcriptomics and epigenomics, combined with bioinformatics analysis. This approach allows us to study different components of the cardiac gene regulatory networks, and discover new genes with important roles in cardiac development. We also seek to investigate the role of chromatin during cardiac development and disease. To this end, we are exploring the role of non-coding genome in order to identify and characterize novel enhancers involved in cardiac development.

Group Leader

Nancy Stathopoulou


We welcome applications from motivated and enthusiastic students who want to join our team. Please contact Nancy to discuss opportunities.



  • Department of Paediatrics

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 Nancy Stathopoulou