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The fat surrounding the human heart in obesity and arrhythmias

A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


Academic background
Sciences, Health Sciences
Host campus
Master’s, PhD
Associate Professor Regis Lamberts


Excessive deposition of fat surrounding the heart (epicardial adipose tissue (EAT), as found in obesity, has a strong clinical association with atrial arrhythmias. The macro-morphological changes of EAT (increase in thickness or volume) in obesity has also been linked to cardiovascular disease. In obesity, adipocytes can undergo hypertrophy (expansion) and/or hyperplasia (increase in numbers), but also infiltrate within the myocardium. However, the micromorphological changes of adipocytes from EAT in obesity is unknown.

Therefore, a PhD project is available with the aim to determine the micro- morphological changes of EAT in obesity. Cardiac and adipose tissues of cardiac surgery patients and cardiac and adipose images of post-mortem cases will be available for ex vivo physiological experiments or image analysis, respectively. Molecular biology analyses (PCR, protein analysis, immunohistochemistry) are optional, as well as linking laboratory data to available clinical data.


Regis Lamberts