Dr Charles Cox completed his PhD in 2013, following on from a Master’s degree (Honours 1st class) in Pharmacy; both at Cardiff University, UK. As a qualified pharmacist Dr Cox practiced in both hospital and community settings (2008-2013) prior to joining the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute.
After post-doctoral training in Professor Boris Martinac’s laboratory, Dr Cox was appointed as a Group Leader at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute (2019-2022) and has been affiliated with University of New South Wales Sydney since 2013.
The primary interest of Dr Cox’s group is cardiac mechanobiology. The heart beats 3.5 billion times in the average person’s life span and in doing so generates force to propel blood through the circulation. Dr Cox’s over-arching research interest is in understanding the molecular mechanisms and pathways by which these physical forces are sensed by cells. In particular how ion channels sense and respond to these signals within the cardiovascular system and how they integrate mechanical signals in both health and disease.
In 2015 Dr Cox was awarded the Young Biophysicist of the Year Award from the Australian Society of Biophysics and received a prestigious New South Wales Health EMCR Fellowship to support his work (2019-2021). Following this in 2022 Dr Cox was awarded an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (2023-2026) and appointed as a laboratory head of the Cardiac Mechanobiology Lab at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute.
There are few environments more mechanical than that of the human heart. It will beat 3.5 billion times during the average person’s lifespan, pumping litres of blood around the body every few minutes. The Cox Lab focusses on understanding the molecular mechanisms of how cells within the heart sense and respond to mechanical forces. These mechanical cues drive physiological processes throughout life from the earliest stages of cardiac development but also contribute to pathological remodelling within the heart in a host of cardiac diseases.
Importantly, mechanical cues contribute to cardiac fibrosis a process central to almost all cardiovascular diseases. Led by Dr Charles Cox, the lab are seeking to understand the mechanical principles and mechanisms that contribute to cardiac fibrosis. These studies will contribute to the development of novel ‘mechano-medicines’, therapeutics that take advantage of the specific mechanical properties of organs or target their mechanosensitivity.
The primary molecules of interest within the Cox Lab are mechanosensitive ion channels. With ongoing projects aimed at understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie ion channel mediated mechanotransduction. Ultimately, we seek to exploit our molecular and cellular knowledge to generate ‘mechano-medicines’ that can help individuals and families impacted by cardiovascular disease.