Sophie McManus

Ph.D. student

My Ph.D. focuses on investigating functional regulation in human embryonic epicardium, and is funded by the British Heart Foundation. The epicardium is a transcriptionally heterogeneous and highly active lineage during cardiovascular development. It gives rise to cardiac fibroblasts and coronary smooth muscle cells and stimulates proliferation and maturation of the developing myocardium. During adulthood the epicardium is quiescent; following cardiac injury, there is transient epicardial reactivation. In some organisms, such as the neonatal mouse and adult zebrafish, epicardial reactivation is beneficial and enables a regenerative response to repair cardiovascular damage. However, humans lack both this beneficial epicardial reactivation and the capacity to regenerate injured heart post-myocardial infarction. We work with a human epicardium stem cell model and primary epicardial tissues to characterise epicardial signalling during development, with the aim of enabling regenerative strategies to repair cardiac injury.

Outside the lab, I enjoy travelling, Pilates, and cooking. I also co-host a weekly science podcast called Blue Streak Science.