The Marques Laboratory
Integrating microbes and molecular biology to prevent cardiovascular disease
Welcome to our lab!
The purpose of our laboratory is to build exceptional scientists that help to improve cardiovascular health.
We develop multidimensional approaches to examine the mechanisms that regulate blood pressure and how it leads to cardiovascular disease, while creating a productive and friendly environment where we can educate the next generation of scientists. We work in multi-disciplinary teams that reflect the complexity of blood pressure regulation to facilitate advancing research and translation of our findings.
First evidence that the gut microbiome of patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction is altered
Evidence that the gut microbiome has a distinct profile in human hypertension and blood pressure variability
Want to learn everything about gut microbiota in hypertension?
Check out our review published in Nature Reviews Cardiology
Beyond gut feelings: how the gut microbiota regulates blood pressure
Our guidelines paper published in Hypertension
Our recent review published in Hypertension
The STORMS guidelines for reporting human microbiome studies we contributed to, published in Nature Medicine
As tough as COVID-19 has been, 2021 has been another successful year for our team! Francine won the prestigious Australian Academy of Science Gottschalk Medal, the International Society of Hypertension Mid-Career Award, and the Women's Agenda STEM Award.
Our team members were finalists or recipients of received 14 awards across the American Heart Association, High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia, 10x Genomics, Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand, L'Oréal-UNESCO and others - just WOW. Photos of some of our awards can be seen here
Unlocking the Mysteries of Blood Pressure Regulation
There is emerging evidence that the microbes that inhabit our colon, also known as the gut microbiota, might have a role in the regulation of blood pressure. Consumption of a diet high in fibre increases gut microbiota populations that generate short chain fatty acids (SCFAs). We have determined that a diet rich in fibre or SCFA modulates gut microbes and prevents the development of cardiovascular disease. We are now trying to understand the mechanisms involved, how the gut and its microbes communicate with other key tissues, as well as performing clinical trials to decrease the burden of cardiovascular disease through prevention of hypertension.
MicroRNAs are small non-coding RNAs which bind to untranslated regions of many genes including those responsible for cardiovascular disease. We are interested in understanding how microRNAs regulate blood pressure and might lead to heart failure. This includes microRNAs that control expression of genes involved in traditional pathways that regulate blood pressure, including the renin angiontensin system and sympathetic activation. In the heart, we are interested in microRNAs that regulate developmental origins of disease, as well as those in the transcardiac gradient that could be used as real markers of disease.