Associate Professor James Chong
PhD, FRACP, MBBS
Associate Professor University of Sydney
Head Cardiac Regeneration Laboratory Westmead Institute for Medical Research
Cardiologist Westmead Hospital
Member of China Studies Centre
|Telephone||+61 2 9845 6795|
|Fax||+61 2 9845 8323|
|Curriculum vitae||Curriculum vitae|
As a cardiologist at Sydney’s Westmead Hospital, I have seen first-hand the suffering of patients with severe heart failure and also how limited our current treatment options are. Although heart transplantation is a viable option for some, there will never be enough donor organs to supply the increasing demand of our ageing nation. This motivated me to set up my research group at the University of Sydney/Westmead Institute for Medical Research focusing on novel methods to achieve heart regeneration.
My research group is inspired by the patients who I treat daily. The aim is to create effective treatments for patients with injured hearts (after heart attack for example) so that much needed solutions to the growing epidemic of heart failure can save billions of dollars in health care costs and many future lives.
Our research draws upon the diverse skills that I developed over the past 15 years or so. After my specialist medical and cardiology training, I completed a National Heart Foundation supported PhD at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute. Here, under the mentorship of Prof Richard Harvey, we identified a previously unknown population of stem cells in the adult mouse heart. During this doctoral training I learned powerful basic science skills including how to use genetic-mouse models to dissect the lineage origins cell populations. This work was subsequently published in Cell Stem Cell (the top journal in the stem cell field, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3652240).
I then realised that there may be more power/utility in other forms of stem cells (including pluripotent stem cells) leading me to the University of Washington, Seattle, USA to work with Prof Charles Murry, one of the world leaders in cardiac stem cell translational science. This Fulbright and NHMRC fellowship supported period increased my skills further to include pluripotent stem cell culture and differentiation as well as multiple animal models of cardiac disease. During this period, I was the first to demonstrate that human Pluripotent Stem Cell Derived Cardiomyocytes (hPSC-CM) can be produced in a large enough scale to treat non-human primates and that hPSC-CM can electrically integrate after transplantation into the injured heart. This work was published (first author) in the prestigious journal Nature, and remains highly cited (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24776797).
Therapeutic application of stem cells
Coronary atherosclerosis and thrombosis
Current research students
|Project title||Research student|
|Molecular Mechanisms of Human Heart Disease||Rebecca BAO|
|Development of a biological pacemaker utilising gene therapy and the gene TBX18||Melad FARRAHA|
|Platelet Derived Growth Factor Mediated Activation and Rejuvenation of Endogenous Cardiac Stem Cells.||Sujitha THAVAPALACHANDRAN|
Human Cardiac Stem Cells for Cardiac Regeneration and Repair
Improving Electrical Integration of Pluripotent Stem Cell Derived Cardiomyocytes in the Injured Heart
Therapeutic Effects of Recombinant Human Platelet Derived Growth Factor in the Infarcted Swine Heart
Purification and Analaysis of Exosomes Derived from Human Cardiac Progenitor Cells
Australaian Society for Stem Cell Researchers
Stem Cells Australia
Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand
Awards and honours
2016 Metcalf Prize (National Stem Cell Foundation)
2014 Ministerial Award for Rising Stars in Cardiovascular Research (NSW Govt/Heart Foundation)
2014 Sydney Medical Foundation Chapman Fellowship
2013 Ludwig Engel Fellowship, Westmead Millennium Institute/Westmead Hospital.
2011 National Health and Medical Research Council Overseas Biomedical Training (CJ Martin) Fellowship.
2011 Australian-American Fulbright Commision Scholarship.
2009 Ralph Reader Prize (Basic Science) Finalist - Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand Annual Scientific Meeting 2009. Young Investigator Award.
2009 Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand Travelling Fellowship to American Heart Association Scientific Sessions.
2009 Network in Genes and Environment in Development, Travel Grant Award.
2009 University of New South Wales Post Graduate Support Scheme Grant.2008 National Heart Foundation Postgraduate Research Scholarship.
2007 Australian Stem Cell Centre Student Bursary.
2007 Australian Postgraduate Award (Australian Government).
2007 Mc Caughey Trust Research Scholarship Royal Australasian College of Physicians
2007 Pfizer Cardiovascular Travel Grant 2007.
In the media
Honours project opportunities
(University of Washington)
Close collaborative relationship with Prof Charles (Chuck) Murry, Director of the Institute for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine.
- Preclinical Assessment of Gene Therapy for Ventricular Arrhythmia; Kizana E, Hajjar R, Chong J; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Project Grants.
- Pluripotent Stem Cell Derived Cardiomyocytes: Improving Electrical Stability and Quantifying Functional Improvements; Chong J, Murry C, Kovoor P, Kizana E, Grieve S, Elliott D; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Project Grants.
- Investigation of Cardiac Stem Cell Regenerative Capabilities and their Enhancement by Manipulation of Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase; Chong J; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Project Grants.
- Clinical Translation of Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Derived Cardiomyocytes; Chong J; National Heart Foundation/Future Leader Fellowship.
- Heart Stem Cells for Heart Regeneration; Chong J; University of Sydney/Internal Scheme.
- Clinical Translation of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells for Heart Failure (Catalyst funding for University of Washington Collaboration).; Chong J, Kizana E, Murry C; Office of Global Engagement/IPDF Grant.
- Human cardiomyocyte and mesenchymal stem cell production for animal models of cardiac disease; Chong J; Agency for Science, Technology and Research/Bioprocessing Technology Institute, Biomedical Sciences Institutes.
- Activation and Rejuvenation of Endogenous Cardiac Stem Cells; Chong J; National Heart Foundation of Australia/NSW CVRN Research Development Project Grant.
- International Program Development Fund – 2015 Round; Chong J; University of Sydney/International Program Development Fund.
- Sydney Medical School New Staff/Early Career Researcher Scheme 2014; Chong J; University of Sydney/Early Career Researcher.
- Human Cardiac Stem Cells for Heart Regeneration; Chong J; Royal Australasian College of Physicians/Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation Research Establishment Fellowship.
- Improving Survival and Function of Stem Cell Derived Human Heart Muscle Grafts; Chong J; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Early Career Fellowships.
- Ludwig Engel Memorial Fellowship; Chong J, Chong J; Westmead Institute for Medical Research/Ludwig Engel Memorial Fellowship.