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Lab personnel

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Research interests

How the heart maintains its pump function under conditions of stress has been the focus of my research career. In the last decade, my research has focused on determining the changes in autonomic regulation and heart function in obesity and diabetes. More recently this has extended to determining the functional interaction between epicardial adipose tissue and the heart, especially in relation to development of cardiac arrhythmias and obesity. To this end, functional biomedical data at cellular and organ level, human myocardial and clinical data are obtained through HeartOtago. This translational knowledge creates the platform that is vital for the development of specific therapeutics for the increasing cohort of individuals with metabolic disease and arrhythmias to improve their heart health.

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Expertise

  • Diabetes, Atrial Fibrillation, Obesity, Pulmonary Hypertension, Ischemia, Hypertrophy and Heart Failure models
  • Ex vivo isolated cardiac muscles (papillary muscles, trabeculae, human and rat)
  • Ex vivo isolated Langendorff-perfused hearts for simultaneous LV and RV pressure and coronary flow measurements (rats and mice)
  • Human epicardial adipose tissue culture

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Current funding

  • Time course of central neuronal activation in diabetes; University of Otago Research grant (PI) 
  • Nitric oxide as a mediator of cardiac signalling; Marsden Fund (AI)
  • Can love break your heart? Oxytocin makes the failing heart skip a beat!; Health Research Council (AI) 

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Previous funding

  • Heart Foundation (2012; 2017-2018; 2018-2020 2x)
  • Otago Medical Research Foundation (2016)
  • OMS Collaborative Research Grant (2015) 
  • HealthCare Otago Charitable Trust NZ (2013 and 2011)
  • University of Otago Research grant (2012 and 2014)
  • OMRF Laurenson Award NZ (2012)

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Selected publications

Aitken-Buck, H. M., Babakr, A. A., Fomison-Nurse, I. C., van Hout, I., Davis, P. J., Bunton, R. W., Williams, M. J. A., Coffey, S., Jones, P. P., & Lamberts, R. R. (2020). Inotropic and lusitropic, but not arrhythmogenic, effects of adipocytokine resistin on human atrial myocardium. American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology & Metabolism, 319, E540-E547. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00202.2020

Aitken-Buck, H. M., Krause, J., Zeller, T., Jones, P. P., & Lamberts, R. R. (2020). Long-chain acylcarnitines and cardiac excitation-contraction coupling: Links to arrhythmias. Frontiers in Physiology, 11, 577856. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2020.577856

Babakr, A. A., Fomison-Nurse, I. C., van Hout, I., Aitken-Buck, H. M., Sugunesegran, R., Davis, P. J., Bunton, R. W., Williams, M. J. A., Coffey, S., Stiles, M. K., Jones, P. P., & Lamberts, R. R. (2020). Acute interaction between human epicardial adipose tissue and human atrial myocardium induce arrhythmic susceptibility. American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology & Metabolism, 318, E164-E172. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00374.2019

Aitken-Buck, H. M., Babakr, A. A., Coffey, S., Jones, P. P., Tse, R. D., & Lamberts, R. R. (2019). Epicardial adipocyte size does not correlate with body mass index. Cardiovascular Pathology, 43, 107144. doi: 10.1016/j.carpath.2019.07.003

Aitken-Buck, H. M., Moharram, M., Babakr, A. A., Reijers, R., Van Hout, I., Fomison-Nurse, I. C., Sugunesegran, R., … Bunton, R. W., Williams, M. J. A., … Jones, P. P., Coffey, S., & Lamberts, R. R. (2019). Relationship between epicardial adipose tissue thickness and epicardial adipocyte size with increasing body mass index. Adipocyte, 8(1), 412-420. doi: 10.1080/21623945.2019.1701387

Frisk, M., Le, C., Shen, X., Røe, Å., Hou, Y., Manfra, O., … van Hout, I., … Lamberts, R. R., … Coffey, S., … Jones, P. P., … Louch, W. E. (2021). Etiology-dependent impairment of diastolic cardiomyocyte calcium homeostasis in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. JACC, 77(4), 405-419. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2020.11.044

Bussey, C. T., Babakr, A. A., Iremonger, R. R., van Hout, I., Wilkins, G. T., Lamberts, R. R., & Erickson, J. R. (2020). Carvedilol and metoprolol are both able to preserve myocardial function in type 2 diabetes. Physiological Reports, 8(5), e14394. doi: 10.14814/phy2.14394

Moharram, M. A., Aitken-Buck, H. M., Reijers, R., van Hout, I., Williams, M. J. A., Jones, P. P., Whalley, G. A., Lamberts, R. R., & Coffey, S. (2020). Correlation between epicardial adipose tissue and body mass index in New Zealand ethnic populations. New Zealand Medical Journal, 133(1516), 22-32. Retrieved from https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Loper, N., Garland, J., Ondruschka, B., Lamberts, R., Stables, S., & Tse, R. (2020). Ventricular weight increases proportionally with total heart weight in postmortem population. American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology, 41(4), 259-262. doi: 10.1097/paf.0000000000000568

Cook, R. F., Bussey, C. T., Fomison-Nurse, I. C., Hughes, G., Bahn, A., Cragg, P. A., & Lamberts, R. R. (2019). β2-adrenoceptors indirectly support impaired β1-adrenoceptor responsiveness in the isolated type 2 diabetic rat heart. Experimental Physiology, 104, 808-818. doi: 10.1113/EP087437

Moharram, M. A., Lamberts, R. R., Whalley, G., Williams, M. J. A., & Coffey, S. (2019). Myocardial tissue characterisation using echocardiographic deformation imaging. Cardiovascular Ultrasound, 17, 27. doi: 10.1186/s12947-019-0176-9

Wilson, G. A., Wilkins, G. T., Cotter, J. D., Lamberts, R. R., Lal, S., & Baldi, J. C. (2019). HIIT improves left ventricular exercise response in adults with type 2 diabetes. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 51(6), 1099-1105. doi: 10.1249/mss.0000000000001897

Bussey, C. T., Thaung, H. P. A., Hughes, G., Bahn, A., & Lamberts, R. R. (2018). Cardiac β-adrenergic responsiveness of obese Zucker rats: The role of AMPK. Experimental Physiology, 103(8), 1067-1075. doi: 10.1113/ep087054

Daniels, L. J., Wallace, R. S., Nicholson, O. M., Wilson, G. A., McDonald, F. J., Jones, P. P., Baldi, J. C., Lamberts, R. R., & Erickson, J. R. (2018). Inhibition of calcium/calmodulin-dependent kinase II restores contraction and relaxation in isolated cardiac muscle from type 2 diabetic rats. Cardiovascular Diabetology, 17, 89. doi: 10.1186/s12933-018-0732-x

Pearson, J. T., Collie, N., Lamberts, R. R., Inagaki, T., Yoshimoto, M., Umetani, K., … Wilkins, G., Jones, P. P., … Schwenke, D. O. (2018). Ghrelin preserves ischemia-induced vasodilation of male rat coronary vessels following beta-adrenergic receptor blockade. Endocrinology, 159(4), 1763-1773. doi: 10.1210/en.2017-03070

Bussey, C. T., & Lamberts, R. R. (2017). Effect of type 2 diabetes, surgical incision, and volatile anesthesia on hemodynamics in the rat. Physiological Reports, 5(14), e13352. doi: 10.14814/phy2.13352

Cook, R. F., Bussey, C. T., Mellor, K. M., Cragg, P. A., & Lamberts, R. R. (2017). β1-Adrenoceptor, but not β2-adrenoceptor, subtype regulates heart rate in type 2 diabetes rats in vivo. Experimental Physiology, 102(8), 911-923. doi: 10.1113/ep086293

Aitken-Buck, H. M., & Lamberts, R. R. (2017). To the heart of activation heat. Journal of Physiology, 595(14), 4577-4578. doi: 10.1113/jp274582

Wilson, G. A., Wilkins, G. T., Cotter, J. D., Lamberts, R. R., Lal, S., & Baldi, J. C. (2017). Impaired ventricular filling limits cardiac reserve during submaximal exercise in people with type 2 diabetes. Cardiovascular Diabetology, 16, 160. doi: 10.1186/s12933-017-0644-1

Wilson, G. A., Wilson, L. C., Lamberts, R. R., Majeed, K., Lal, S., Wilkins, G. T., & Baldi, J. C. (2017). β-adrenergic responsiveness in the type 2 diabetic heart: Effects on cardiac reserve. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 49(5), 907-914. doi: 10.1249/mss.0000000000001184

Satthenapalli, V. R., Lamberts, R. R., & Katare, R. G. (2017). Challenges in regenerating the diabetic heart: A comprehensive review. Stem Cells, 35(9), 2009-2026. doi: 10.1002/stem.2661

Rawal, S., Munasinghe, E. P., Nagesh, P. T., Lew, J. K. S., Jones, G. T., Williams, M. J. A., Davis, P., Bunton, R. W., Galvin, I. F., Manning, P., Lamberts, R. R., & Katare, R. (2017). Downregulation of miR-15a/b accelerates fibrotic remodelling in the Type-2 diabetic human and mouse heart. Clinical Science, 131(9), 847-863. doi: 10.1042/cs20160916

Baldi, J. C., Wilson, G. A., Wilson, L. C., Wilkins, G. T., & Lamberts, R. R. (2016). The type 2 diabetic heart: Its role in exercise intolerance and the challenge to find effective exercise interventions. Sports Medicine, 46, 1605-1617. doi: 10.1007/s40279-016-0542-9

Munasinghe, P. E., Riu, F., Dixit, P., Edamatsu, M., Saxena, P., Hamer, N. S. J., Galvin, I. F., Bunton, R. W., Lequeux, S., Jones, G., Lamberts, R. R., … Katare, R. (2016). Type-2 diabetes increases autophagy in the human heart through promotion of Beclin-1 mediated pathway. International Journal of Cardiology, 202, 13-20. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2015.08.111

Thaung, H. P. A., Baldi, J. C., Wang, H.-Y., Hughes, G., Cook, R. F., Bussey, C. T., Sheard, P. W., Bahn, A., Jones, P. P., Schwenke, D. O., & Lamberts, R. R. (2015). Increased efferent cardiac sympathetic nerve activity and defective intrinsic heart rate regulation in type 2 diabetes. Diabetes, 64(8), 2944-2956. doi: 10.2337/db14-0955

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