Background and research interests
Chris completed his PhD at Imperial College London under the supervision of Professor Michael Ferenczi and Dr James Sellers (National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, USA), studying how heart muscle function is adapted in human health and disease. He subsequently began his postdoctoral work with the support of a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship with Professors Christine and Jonathan Seidman at Harvard Medical School and Professor Hugh Watkins at the Radcliffe Department of Medicine, Oxford. In this work he established key mechanisms of inherited heart muscle disease in two of the most common forms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).
Chris has subsequently established the laboratory of 'Cardiac Physiology and Disease Modelling' at the University of Oxford, supported by a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship from Wellcome and additional funding from the British Heart Foundation (BHF). The research group is investigating the mechanisms that drive inheried cardiomyopathies, including both HCM and dilated cardiomyopathies (DCM). His team do this by using human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) to produce human heart cells in the dish (hiPSC-CMs). Using genetic engineering (CRISPR/Cas-9) the team introduce patient specific mutations into human heart cells to study disease mechanisms, with the aim of developing new genetic cures for inherited heart muscle diseases.
Margara F, Psaras Y, Wang ZJ, Schmid M, Doste R, Garfinkel AC, Repeti GG, Seidman JG, Seidman CE, Rodriguez B, Toepfer CN & Bueno-Orovio A. Mechanism-based therapies enable personalised treatment of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Sci Rep. 2022; 12(1):22501. Epub 20221228. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-26889-2. PubMed PMID: 36577774; PMCID: PMC9797561
Psaras Y, Margara F, Cicconet M, Sparrow AJ,Repetti G, Schmid M, Steeples V, Willcox JA, Bueno-Orovio A, Redwood C, Watkins H, Robinson P, Rodriguez B, Seidman JG, Seidman CE, Toepfer CN. CalTrack: High Throughput Automated Calcium Transient Analysis in Cardiomyocytes. Circ Res 2021. Epub 2021/05/22. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.121.318868. PubMed PMID: 34018815.
Toperfer CN,Garfinkel AC, Venturini G, Wakimoto H, Repetti G, Alamo L, Sharma A, Agarwal R, Ewoldt JF, Cloonan P, Letendre J, Lun M, Olivotti I, Colan S, Ashley E, Jacoby D, Michels M, Redwood CS, Watkins HC, Day SM, Staples JF, Padrom R, Chopra A, Ho CY, Chen CS, Pereira AC, Seidman JG, Seidman CE. Myosin Sequestration Regulates Sarcomere Function, Cardiomyocyte Energetics, and Metabolism, Informing the Pathogenesis of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. Circulation. 2020; 141(10):828-42. Epub 2020/01/28. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.119.042339. PubMed PMID: 319832222; PMCID: PMC7077965
Toepfer CN, Wakimoto H, Garfinkel AC, McDonough B, Liao D, Jiang J, Tai A, Gorham JM, Lunde I, Lun M, Lynch T, Sadayappan S, Redwood C, Watkins H, Seidman J, Seidman C. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy mutations in MYBPC3 dysregulate myosin. Sci Transl Med. 2019; 11(eaat199).
Toepfer CN, Sharma A, Cicconet M, Garfinkel AC, Mucke M, Neyazi M, Willcox JA, Agarwal R, Schmid M, Rao J, Ewoldt JK, Pourquie O, Chopra A, Chen C, Seidman JG, Seidman CE. SarcTrack: An Adaptable Software Tool for Efficient Large-Scale Analysis of Sarcomere Function in hiPSC-Cardiomyocytes. Circ Res. 2019. Epub 2019/02/01. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA. 118.314505. PubMed PMID: 30700234.