Stem cells and cardiovascular development

The genetic basis of cardiovascular development and disease

During embryonic development, undifferentiated cells are prompted to make ‘decisions’ that ultimately direct them to becoming one tissue type or another.

The mechanisms that control genes and gene networks responsible for driving these decisions during cardiovascular differentiation are the focus of Dr Palpant’s research group.

“Information about changes in a cell’s environment are communicated through signalling pathways that are complex and very carefully orchestrated. This information is transmitted to the nucleus in order to guide cell identity and fate.” said Dr Palpant.

“The transcriptome – or collection of RNA readouts encoding information controlling a cell’s identity – changes through development and provides a signature of the function and fate of specific cell types.”

Latest publication

Single-Cell Transcriptomic Analysis of Cardiac Differentiation from Human PSCs Reveals HOPX-Dependent Cardiomyocyte Maturation

Dr Palpant and colleagues have published the most in-depth study of exactly how human stem cells can be turned into heart cells. The work involved measuring changes in gene activity in tens of thousands of individual cells as they move through the stages of heart development.

Unlike those tissues, the heart does not have the capacity for self-repair after damage (such as a heart attack). This is one reason why heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. This research may help us find ways to repair the heart in the future. ​Read more

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Dr Nathan Palpant

Dr Nathan Palpant

Group Leader, Genomics of Development and Disease Division, IMB
Co-Director, Queensland Facility for Advanced Genome Editing, IMB

  +61 7 3346 2054
  IMB Researcher Profile
  Centre for Cardiac and Vascular Biology
  Queensland Facility for Advanced Genome Editing

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  Group Leader

  • Dr Nathan Palpant

    Group Leader, Genomics of Development and Disease Division
    Senior Research Fellow - GL
    Institute for Molecular Bioscience


  • Mr Han Chiu

    Research Assistant
    Institute for Molecular Bioscience
  • Dr Di Xia

    Senior Research Assistant
    Institute for Molecular Bioscience
  • Dr Meredith Redd

    Research Officer
    Institute for Molecular Bioscience