Master Student position: Cellular and molecular mechanisms of cardiac fibrosis and dysfunction

Short description

Cardiovascular diseases are a leading cause of mortality and morbidity in the developed countries with sudden cardiac death accounting for about 15-20% of all cause deaths. Sudden cardiac deaths are often the consequence of abnormal heart rhythms called arrhythmias. Clinical studies demonstrated that ventricular fibrosis represented a strong predictor of ventricular arrhythmia and sudden cardiac death in ischemic and non-ischemic cardiac conditions. Cardiac fibrosis, usually followed by cardiac inflammation, is characterized as an excessive accumulation of stromal cells/fibroblasts and extracellular matrix proteins in the myocardium leading to heart dysfunction.Research interests/projects in the lab:

  • Role of stromal cell populations and fibrosis in myocardial remodelling
  • Role of autophagy and cellular senescence in myocardial dysfunction
  • Evaluation of fibrosis-triggered arrhythmia and heart functions
  • 3D human cardiac microtissue fibrosis/arrhythmia models using induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) and tissue-on-chip technology
  • Role of specific (similar or distinct) myeloid and stromal cell populationsin multiorgan pathology


Cardiac inflammation, cardiac fibrosis, conduction system, fibroblast, myeloid cells, systemic sclerosis, 3D microtissue, autophagy


Basic knowledge in molecular biology, cell culture, heart physiology, fibrosis.

Methodology: This Master Thesis offers an excellent possibility to learn a range of conventional and molecular biology techniques such as primary cell isolation, cell culture, 3D cell culture, quantitative PCR, gene silencing and overexpression methods, Western Blot, ELISA, flow cytometry, immunofluorescence and immunohistochemistry, advanced microscopy, non-invasive electrocardiogram, high-speed video analysis, mouse models. On the other hand, it might be a valuable opportunity to be involved in the innovative and clinically oriented project that will give the basis for the future PhD thesis.


Prof. Dr. Gabriela Kania


Center of Experimental Rheumatology
Department of Rheumatology, USZ
Wagistrasse 14
8952 Schlieren

Tel. +41 43 253 30 13