Research Summary: The cellular definition of a cardiac fibroblast has been expanded in recent years to describe a heterogeneous population of mesenchymal cells within the heart, which are important mediators of repair following injury. The role of recently described cardiac-resident MSC-like cells, termed colony-forming units – fibroblasts (CFU-Fs, identified as CD45-, CD31-, Sca1+, and PDGFRa+) in the modest regenerative response of the injured myocardium has yet to be investigated. Further, in the absence of a robust regenerative response, cardiac CFU-Fs are hypothesized to be the principal cell type involved in the formation of fibrosis within the heart. Elucidation of the cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating cardiac CFU-F’s role in the axis of regeneration versus repair following myocardial injury will lead to novel therapeutic avenues to modulate these processes.
Birthplace: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Previous Education: Honors Bachelor of Medical Sciences – University of Western Ontario, Canada
Masters of Philosophy – Maastricht University, The Netherlands
Personal Summary: Outside of the lab, Ben is an avid science communicator and holds a variety of different roles in numerous science outreach organizations. He wrote, directed and starred in two short-films about genetics, which were featured in the GeneScreenBC competition in 2010 and 2011. He is also a keen tennis player and pianist.