Dr James Hudson


Dr Hudson completed a double major in Chemical and Biological Engineering in 2006 at The University of Queensland. He subsequently completed his PhD from The University of Queensland in 2011 in the tissue engineering/biomaterials field. Dr Hudson then completed postdoctoral training under the guidance of Prof Wolfram-Hubertus Zimmermann, one of the most prominent cardiac tissue engineering researchers. Dr Hudson returned to Australia in Jan 2013 and now runs the Muscle Tissue Engineering Lab at the School of Biomedical Sciences at UQ. Dr Hudson is currently a NHMRC Career Development Fellow & National Heart Foundation Future Leaders Fellow and was awarded the Paul Korner Innovation Award and also the QLD Cardiovascular Researcher of the year for 2017.

Title: Human Engineered Cardiac Organoids for Screening Applications

Over the past few years, advances in pluripotent stem cell culture and directed differentiation protocols have now made it possible to create human tissue organoids. Very recently cerebral, intestinal, stomach, lung and neural networks have all been reported and have the ability to self-organise to recapitulate their tissues of origin in both geometry and function, provided the correct environment is provided. This represents a revolution in tissue culture as the modelling of development and/or disease. This is because even minor alterations in protein functions or environment can have profound effects on tissue function.

In traditional 2D cultures these human cardiomyocytes have been proven to recapitulate some of the properties of native heart tissue, however, many properties closely resemble embryonic-like cardiomyocytes. In order to enhance the maturation of the human pluripotent stem cell cardiomyocytes we have used tissue engineering to produce human cardiac organoids. These organoids have enhanced maturation and we can also record functional properties in these tissues.

Tissue engineered in general is a labour intensive and resource intensive pursuit where > 1million cells are required to produce each tissue and it is very time-consuming to record functional properties from each tissue.  We have therefore miniaturised our cardiac tissue engineering system into a 96-well, semi-automated screening platform. This has facilitated our screening for drivers of maturation, drivers of cardiac regeneration and screening applications in collaboration with industry where we have identified new compounds for cardiac regeneration.