Zebrafish possess a number of specific advantages for the study of muscle cell disease and regeneration. Foremost amongst these attributes is the fact that the externally-developing, transparent, zebrafish embryo and larva allows simple optical inspection of living muscle. Using both forward and reverse genetic approaches we have generated mutations in the zebrafish orthologues of the vast majority of human dystrophy disease-causing genes. Using this resource, we have sought to understand the basis for the pathology evident in the least well understood of the inherited muscle diseases. Amongst the most enigmatic of the dystrophies at the mechanistic level are those grouped as the Congenital Muscular Dystrophy class. Here I describe our studies, that use the image intensive and genetic approaches that are facilitated in the zebrafish system, coupled with studies in patient cells, to make novel insights in to the pathological basis of a number of these disorders. I will also describe our contributions to the understanding of the muscle regenerative process, a focus of the laboratory that aims to document and understand the collective cellular response triggered in muscle disease and tissue injury.
Professor Peter D Currie, Director of Research, Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute. Head, EMBL Australia Melbourne Node. NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow, Monash University, Australia
Currie received his PhD in Genetics from Syracuse University, NY, USA and undertook postdoctoral training at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London, UK. He worked as an independent laboratory head at the UK Medical Research Council’s Human Genetics Unit in Edinburgh, UK and the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Sydney, Australia. In 2016, he was appointed Director of the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Research in the Currie laboratory incorporates a broad range of multidisciplinary approaches that include genetics, developmental biology, stem cell science, evolution and genomics to define the origin and properties of skeletal muscle cell types in development and disease. In particular, the lab is interested in how specific muscle cell types are determined within the developing embryo, how they grow and how they regenerate after injury. Currie is also fascinated by how these processes evolved with the vertebrate lineage and use comparative developmental evolutionary approaches to generate this understanding. His principle research model is zebrafish, however, more recently the laboratory has established Chondrichthyans(sharks and chimaeras) as laboratory models.
Peter Currie’s profile on the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute website : www.armi.org.au/about/our-people/peter-currie
Peter Currie’s profile on the Monash University website: research.monash.edu/en/persons/peter-currie
ABOUT THE AUSTRALIAN REGENERATIVE MEDICINE INSTITUTE
ARMI is one of the world’s largest regenerative medicine and stem cell research centres. The focus of the research within the Institute is to ascertain the mechanisms associated with the regenerative process by studying how life is formed, how it develops and how it regenerates – all components that are vital to delivering regenerative medicine. The aim of ARMI is to create the technology and therapies that will be able to prevent, halt and reverse damage to organs and tissues due to disease, injury and genetic conditions. This will provide treatments for conditions such as neurodegenerative disorders, autoimmune diseases, diabetes type 1, musculo-skeletal conditions and cardiovascular diseases. It’s 19 research groups are arranged into 4 themes, employing over 250 staff and students.