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Samuel Lab research

CollaborationsStudent research projects | Publications

About Professor Chrishan Samuel

Chrishan is a Senior Research Fellow, Deputy Head of Department (Research) and Group Leader, Fibrosis Laboratory, at Monash Pharmacology. He is also Deputy Head of the Cardiovascular Disease Program, Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute. Having been trained as a matrix biologist, his research is focused on identifying novel therapeutic targets and more direct and potent treatment strategies for fibrosis (organ scarring) regression; particularly associated with cardiovascular, renal and airway/lung diseases. Chrishan's main interest has been to establish the anti-fibrotic and therapeutic potential of the naturally occurring hormone, relaxin and related mimetics. He additionally investigates other novel peptide, stem cell, as well as combination therapies that may aid in tissue repair and regeneration, in collaboration with others.

Chrishan Samuel received his PhD from the Howard Florey Institute, University of Melbourne in 1999. He then completed two years of postdoctoral training at the Department of Dermatology, Stanford University and Molecular Medicine Research Institute (California, USA) under Dr Edward Amento. Chrishan returned to Australia in early 2001 and re-joined the Howard Florey Institute (under Prof Geoff Tregear), where he established the Fibrosis Laboratory in 2002 - which focused on developing novel therapeutic strategies for cardiac and renal fibrosis (scar tissue accumulation), with particular attention to defining the anti-fibrotic potential of relaxin and related mimetics. During this time, his research was supported by an ARC Postdoctoral Fellowship (2002-2004); an NHFA/NHMRC RD Wright Career Development Fellowship (2007-2011); and various grants from the NHMRC, ARC, NHF, ASCC as well as various commercial sources.

In September 2011, he was recruited to join the Department of Pharmacology at Monash University, where he Heads the Fibrosis Laboratory and is an executive member. In 2013, he received an NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship (2013-2018); in 2014, was appointed an Associate Professor; in 2017 was appointed Deputy Head of Department (Research); and in 2020 was appointed a full Professor. He is also the Higher Degree Research (HDR) student Co-ordinator for the Department (2013- ) and is a member of the MARP-2 Animal Ethics Committee (June 2015- ). Chrishan's work examines the anti-fibrotic potential of various peptides, stem cells, epithelial repair factors and combinations of peptide and stem cell therapies. These therapies have been evaluated in various experimental models of ageing and heart/kidney/lung disease. His current work also involves identifying the molecular mechanisms of various anti-fibrotics and comparing the efficacy of emerging anti-fibrotics to existing therapeutics for heart/kidney/lung disease.

Chrishan is Senior and Associate Editor of three journals, has reviewed papers for over 80 scientific journals, and has served on Grant/Career Development Fellowship and Early Career Fellowship GRP Review Panels for the NHMRC, as an ARC OzReader and on PhD Scholarship Committees for the NHFA. He has additional acted as an external assessor of grants submitted to the NHMRC, ARC, NHFA, Diabetes Australia Research Trust, Diabetes UK, British Lung Foundation, Dunhill Medical Trust UK, Scottish Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, Polish National Science Centre, Swiss National Science Foundation, The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development, Health Research Council of New Zealand, German Research Foundation and Singaporean National Medical Research Council. He has more than 165 career publications (1996-present), is a co-inventor of 6 patents/2 PCTs and has initiated research links with relevant pharmaceutical companies for the long-term development of this IP. He is currently a consultant to Merck & Co., Inc. (NJ, USA)/Merck Sharp & Dohme (NSW, Australia), Relaxera (Bensheim, Germany), Cynata Therapeutics Ltd (Melbourne, Australia), AusBio Ltd (Melbourne, Australia); and formerly consulted to various other companies including Corthera Inc (CA, USA), Novartis AG (Basel, Switzerland) and Compugen (Holon, Israel).


Our research

Current projects

1.Evaluation of peptide-based anti-fibrotics
1.1.RXFP1 agonists
1.2.Peptides targeting the renin-angiotensin system
1.3.Signal transduction studies – identifying new clinical targets for treating fibrosis (in models of heart / kidney / lung disease)
1.4.Developing new modes of peptide delivery
1.5.Novel glycoproteins-based therapeutics

2. Evaluation of stem cell/exosome/combination strategies as anti-fibrotics
2.1 Synergistic combination of stem cells or exosomes with anti-fibrotics to reverse fibrosis
2.2 Therapeutic effects of iPSC-derived MSCs

3. Head-to-head efficacy studies

4. The influence of risk factors (ageing, gender, hypertension) on fibrosis

Visit Professor Samuel's Monash research profile to see a full listing of current projects.

Research activities

The Fibrosis Lab focuses on the anti-fibrotic and organ-protective potential of various peptide (RXFP1 agonists and related mimetics, AT2R agonists, IRAP inhibitors, epithelial repair factors), adult human stem cell (bone marrow-MSCs, AECs, iPSCs) and combination therapies. The tissue-reparative effects of these treatments have also been  evaluated in various experimental models of ageing and heart/kidney/lung disease - involving fibrotic cardiomyopathy, hypertension, myocardial infarction, diabetic cardiomyopathy and nephropathy, tubulointerstitial renal fibrosis, allergic airways disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and interstitial pulmonary fibrosis.

Further work, which could form the basis of potential PhD, Masters and Honours projects, requires: 

I) an investigation of the mechanisms and signal transduction pathways by which these various therapies mediate their anti-fibrotic, organ-protective and reparative actions – which could lead to the identification of novel therapeutic targets that may be utilised to enhance their therapeutic actions;

II) comparison of the therapeutic efficacy of these various drug- and cell-based therapies to currently-used front-line treatments for heart, kidney and airway/lung disease (such as ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, aldosterone receptor blockers, pirfenidone, corticosteroids) - to demonstrate how effective and rapid-occurring these therapies act; and

III) an investigation of the influence of various risks factor, such as ageing, gender and hypertension, on fibrosis progression and susceptibility to drug/cell treatment of disease pathology.

Techniques/expertise

  • Animal models of fibrosis [surgery/pathophysiology]
  • Cell culture [human and rodent]
  • Collagen and protein biochemistry
  • Novel technologies to measure fibrosis [HistoIndex Platform, MRI]
  • Histology/immunohistochemistry
  • Tissue functional analysis [Echocardiography, cardiac ultrasound, Langendorff Apparatus, invasive plethsmography, ELISA]
  • Molecular biology
  • Discovery/pre-clinical testing services

Disease models [mice]

  • Heart and/or kidney disease:
  • Ageing
  • Isoprenaline-induced cardiomyopathy
  • Myocardial infarction-induced heart failure
  • Unilateral ureteric obstruction-induced nephropathy
  • High salt-induced cardiac and renal injury
  • One kidney/DOCA/salt-induced hypertension
  • Streptozotocin-induced diabetic cardiomyopathy and nephropathy
  • Airway/lung disease:
  • Ovalbumin-induced acute and chronic allergic airways disease
  • Bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis
  • Cigarette smoke-induced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Disease models [rats]

  • Heart and/or kidney disease:
  • Ageing
  • Spontaneously hypertensive rats

Collaborations

We collaborate with many scientists and research organisations around the world. Some of our more significant national and international collaborators are listed below. Click on the map to see the details for each of these collaborators (dive into specific publications and outputs by clicking on the dots).

Professor Ross Bathgate (Florey Neuroscience Institutes, University of Melbourne)
Professor Jane Black (Dept. of Anatomy & Developmental Biology, Monash University, Monash BDI)
Dr Jane Bourke (Dept. of Pharmacology, Monash University, Monash BDI)
Dr Michael Seganish and Dr Steve Serota (Merck Research Labs, Merck & Co., Inc., NJ, USA)
Professor Kate Denton (Dept. of Physiology, Monash University, Monash BDI)
Professor Grant Drummond (Dept. of Physiology, Anatomy & Microbiology, La Trobe University)
Dr Thomas Dschietzig (Relaxera Pharmazeutische Gesellschaft mbH & Co. KG, Bensheim, Germany)
Associate Professor Xiao-Jun Du (Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne)
Dr Irene Griswold-Prenner, Dr Dianna DeVore and Dr Karen Chen (Imago Pharmaceuticals Inc, CA, USA)
Associate Professor Tim Hewitson (Dept. of Nephrology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne)
Associate Professor Akhter Hossain (Florey Neuroscience Institutes, University of Melbourne)
Associate Professor Barbara Kemp-Harper (Dept. of Pharmacology, Monash University, Monash BDI)
Dr Kilian Kelly (Cynata Therapeutics Ltd, Melbourne)
Associate Professor Rebecca Lim (Hudson Institute, Melbourne)
Professor Sharon Ricardo (Dept. of Anatomy & Developmental Biology, Monash University, Monash BDI)
Professor Prashanthan Sanders (Cardiovascular Research Centre, University of Adelaide, SA)
Professor Roger Summers (Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences)
Professor Robert Widdop (Dept. of Pharmacology, Monash University, Monash BDI)
Dr Weng Yang Wu and Dr Paul Jones (AusBio Ltd, Melbourne)
Associate Professor Yong Zhou (University of Alabama, USA)


Student research projects

The Samuel Lab offers a variety of Honours, Masters and PhD projects for students interested in joining our group. There are also a number of short term research opportunities available.

Please visit Supervisor Connect to explore the projects currently available in our Lab.