Dr Osvaldo Contreras Saavedra

Dr Osvaldo Contreras Saavedra

Conjoint Lecturer

PhD Biological Sciences mention Cell and Molecular Biology

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Departamento de Biología Celular y Molecular and Center for Aging and Regeneration

Centre for Rregenerative Medicine, UBC, Canada

03/2014

05/2019

Maximum Distinction, 100%

Master of Biological Sciences, mention Cell and Molecular Biology,

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Departamento de Biología Celular y Molecular and Center for Aging and Regeneration

03/2014

07/2015

Maximum Distinction, 96%

Bachelor of Biological Sciences           

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (#1 LatAm University Rankings - QS)

Departamento de Biología Celular y Molecular and Center for Aging and Regeneration

03/2008

08/2012

Ranked 1st, Double Distinction , %87

 

Medicine & Health
School of Clinical Medicine

Postdoctoral Fellow Osvaldo Contreras is a cell biologist and a biomedical researcher studying tissue regeneration and homeostasis loss in mammals with a focus on the stromal and stem cell compartments. After completing his MSc degree, he received his PhD in cell and molecular biology in 2019. His PhD focused on tissue-resident fibro-adipogenic progenitor cell fate, plasticity, and heterogeneity in muscle regeneration and heart repair in Prof. Enrique Brandan's Lab at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile with the co-supervision of Prof. Fabio Rossi at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Since his PhD, Osvaldo has focused on comprehending myopathies and myogenic and fibroblast fate determination and differentiation in the context of fibro-fatty deposition, centering on three major signalling pathways: PDGF, TGF-B, and Wnt signalling, and their cross-talk. As a Postdoctoral Scientist, Dr Contreras works on stem cell-based strategies for improving our understanding of heart development and repair under the supervision of Prof. Richard Harvey at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute and holds a Conjoint Lecturer position at UNSW Sydney, Faculty of Medicine and Health.

Location
Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, Lowy Packer Building, 405 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst, NSW 2010
  • Journal articles | 2023
    Contreras O; Harvey RP, 2023, 'Single-cell transcriptome dynamics of the autotaxin-lysophosphatidic acid axis during muscle regeneration reveal proliferative effects in mesenchymal fibro-adipogenic progenitors', Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology, 11, http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2023.1017660
    Journal articles | 2023
    Thorpe J; Perry MD; Contreras O; Hurley E; Parker G; Harvey RP; Hill AP; Vandenberg JI, 2023, 'Development of a robust induced pluripotent stem cell atrial cardiomyocyte differentiation protocol to model atrial arrhythmia', Stem Cell Research and Therapy, 14, http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13287-023-03405-5
    Journal articles | 2022
    Harvey RP; Patrick R; Janbandhu V; Contreras O, 2022, 'Cardiac fibroblast heterogeneity and dynamics through the lens of single-cell dual 'omics', Cardiovascular Research, 118, pp. 1380 - 1382, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cvr/cvac037
    Journal articles | 2022
    Janbandhu V; Tallapragada V; Patrick R; Li Y; Abeygunawardena D; Humphreys DT; Martin EMMA; Ward AO; Contreras O; Farbehi N; Yao E; Du J; Dunwoodie SL; Bursac N; Harvey RP, 2022, 'Hif-1a suppresses ROS-induced proliferation of cardiac fibroblasts following myocardial infarction', Cell Stem Cell, 29, pp. 281 - 297.e12, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.stem.2021.10.009
    Journal articles | 2021
    Contreras O; Córdova-Casanova A; Brandan E, 2021, 'PDGF-PDGFR network differentially regulates the fate, migration, proliferation, and cell cycle progression of myogenic cells', Cellular Signalling, 84, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cellsig.2021.110036
    Journal articles | 2021
    Contreras O; Rossi FMV; Theret M; Contreras Saavedra O, 2021, 'Origins, potency, and heterogeneity of skeletal muscle fibro-adipogenic progenitors—time for new definitions', Skeletal Muscle, 11, pp. 16, http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13395-021-00265-6
    Journal articles | 2021
    Theret M; Low M; Rempel L; Li FF; Tung LW; Contreras O; Chang C-K; Wu A; Soliman H; Rossi FMV, 2021, 'Targeting fibrosis in the Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy mice model: an uphill battle', , http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2021.01.20.427485
    Journal articles | 2021
    Theret M; Low M; Rempel L; Li FF; Tung LW; Contreras O; Chang CK; Wu A; Soliman H; Rossi FMV, 2021, 'In vitro assessment of anti-fibrotic drug activity does not predict in vivo efficacy in murine models of Duchenne muscular dystrophy', Life Sciences, 279, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lfs.2021.119482
    Journal articles | 2021
    Theret M; Rossi FMV; Contreras O; Contreras Saavedra O, 2021, 'Evolving Roles of Muscle-Resident Fibro-Adipogenic Progenitors in Health, Regeneration, Neuromuscular Disorders, and Aging', Frontiers in Physiology, 12, pp. 673404, http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2021.673404
    Journal articles | 2020
    Contreras O; Soliman H; Theret M; Rossi FMV; Brandan E, 2020, 'TGF-β-driven downregulation of the Wnt/β-Catenin transcription factor TCF7L2/TCF4 in PDGFRα+ fibroblasts', , http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.01.05.895334
    Journal articles | 2020
    Contreras O; Soliman H; Theret M; Rossi FMV; Brandan E, 2020, 'TGF-β-driven downregulation of the transcription factor TCF7L2 affects Wnt/β-catenin signaling in PDGFRα+ fibroblasts', Journal of cell science, 133, http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/jcs.242297
    Journal articles | 2020
    Contreras O, 2020, 'Hic1 deletion unleashes quiescent connective tissue stem cells and impairs skeletal muscle regeneration', Journal of Cell Communication and Signaling, 14, pp. 131 - 133, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12079-019-00545-3
    Journal articles | 2020
    Riquelme-Guzmán C; Contreras O, 2020, 'Single-cell revolution unveils the mysteries of the regenerative mammalian digit tip', Developmental Biology, 461, pp. 107 - 109, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ydbio.2020.02.002
    Journal articles | 2019
    Contreras O; Cruz-Soca M; Theret M; Soliman H; Tung LW; Groppa E; Rossi FM; Brandan E, 2019, 'Cross-talk between TGF-β and PDGFRα signaling pathways regulates the fate of stromal fibro-adipogenic progenitors', Journal of Cell Science, 132, http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/jcs.232157
    Journal articles | 2019
    Contreras O; Rossi FM; Brandan E; Contreras Saavedra O, 2019, 'Adherent muscle connective tissue fibroblasts are phenotypically and biochemically equivalent to stromal fibro/adipogenic progenitors', Matrix Biology Plus, 2, pp. 100006, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mbplus.2019.04.003
    Journal articles | 2019
    Contreras O, 2019, 'First person – Osvaldo Contreras', Journal of Cell Science, 132, http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/JCS.238485
    Journal articles | 2019
    Rebolledo DL; González D; Faundez-Contreras J; Contreras O; Vio CP; Murphy-Ullrich JE; Lipson KE; Brandan E, 2019, 'Denervation-induced skeletal muscle fibrosis is mediated by CTGF/CCN2 independently of TGF-β', Matrix Biology, 82, pp. 20 - 37, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.matbio.2019.01.002
    Journal articles | 2018
    Contreras O; Villarreal M; Brandan E; Contreras Saavedra O, 2018, 'Nilotinib impairs skeletal myogenesis by increasing myoblast proliferation', Skeletal Muscle, 8, pp. 5, http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13395-018-0150-5
    Journal articles | 2018
    Riquelme-Guzmán C; Contreras O; Brandan E, 2018, 'Expression of CTGF/CCN2 in response to LPA is stimulated by fibrotic extracellular matrix via the integrin/FAK axis', American Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology, 314, pp. C415 - C427, http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/ajpcell.00013.2017
    Journal articles | 2017
    Contreras O; Brandan E, 2017, 'Fibro/adipogenic progenitors safeguard themselves: a novel mechanism to reduce fibrosis is discovered', Journal of Cell Communication and Signaling, 11, pp. 77 - 78, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12079-016-0372-4
    Journal articles | 2017
    Gonzalez D; Contreras O; Rebolledo DL; Espinoza JP; Van Zundert B; Brandan E, 2017, 'ALS skeletal muscle shows enhanced TGF-β signaling, fibrosis and induction of fibro/adipogenic progenitor markers', PLoS ONE, 12, http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0177649
    Journal articles | 2016
    Contreras O; Rebolledo DL; Oyarzún JE; Olguín HC; Brandan E, 2016, 'Connective tissue cells expressing fibro/adipogenic progenitor markers increase under chronic damage: relevance in fibroblast-myofibroblast differentiation and skeletal muscle fibrosis', Cell and Tissue Research, 364, pp. 647 - 660, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00441-015-2343-0
    Journal articles | 2015
    Cofre C; Acuña MJ; Contreras O; Morales MG; Riquelme C; Cabello-Verrugio C; Brandan E, 2015, 'Transforming growth factor type-β inhibits Mas receptor expression in fibroblasts but not in myoblasts or differentiated myotubes; Relevance to fibrosis associated to muscular dystrophies', BioFactors, 41, pp. 111 - 120, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/biof.1208
    Journal articles | 2015
    Cofre C; José Acuña M; Contreras O; Gabriela Morales M; Riquelme C; Bader M; Santos R; Cabello-Verrugio C; Brandan E, 2015, 'Erratum for: Transforming growth factor type-β inhibits Mas receptor expression in fibroblasts but not in myoblasts or differentiated myotubes; Relevance to fibrosis associated to muscular dystrophies [BioFactors, 2015 March/April; 42(2); 111-120, doi: 10.1002/biof.1208]', BioFactors, 41, pp. 209 - 209, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/biof.1220
    Journal articles | 2015
    Gutiérrez J; Droppelmann CA; Contreras O; Takahashi C; Brandan E, 2015, 'RECK-mediated β1-integrin regulation by TGF-β1 is critical for wound contraction in mice', PLoS ONE, 10, http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0135005
    Journal articles | 2013
    Escobedo N; Contreras O; Muñoz R; Farías M; Carrasco H; Hill C; Tran U; Pryor SE; Wessely O; Copp AJ; Larraín J, 2013, 'Syndecan 4 interacts genetically with Vangl2 to regulate neural tube closure and planar cell polarity', Development (Cambridge), 140, pp. 3008 - 3017, http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/dev.091173
    Journal articles | 2011
    Escobedo N; Farias M; Carrasco H; Contreras O; Tran U; Wessely O; Copp A; Larrain J, 2011, 'Role of Syndecan-4 in mouse development', DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY, 356, pp. 176 - 177, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ydbio.2011.05.654
  • Preprints | 2023
    Thorpe J; Perry M; Contreras O; Hurley E; Parker G; Harvey R; Hill A; Vandenberg J, 2023, Development of a robust induced pluripotent stem cell atrial cardiomyocyte differentiation protocol to model atrial arrhythmia, , http://dx.doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-2744099/v1
    Preprints | 2022
    Contreras O; Harvey R, 2022, Single-Cell Transcriptome Dynamics of the Autotaxin-Lysophosphatidic Acid Axis During Muscle Regeneration Reveal Proliferative Effects in Mesenchymal Fibro-Adipogenic Progenitors, , http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2022.07.02.498539

Australian Miltenyi Biotech Research Award                                                                                           September 2022
 
Nominated for Falling Walls Science Breakthroughs of the Year 2022                                                   June 2022
 
Postdoc Award Highly Commended, Paul Korner Seminar Series                                                         Dec 2021
Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, Sydney, Australia
 
The FEBS Journal Poster of the Day Award, 45th FEBS Virtual Congress, Ljubljana                            July 2021
PDGF-PDGFR network modulates myogenic progenitor fate, migration, and proliferation
 
IUBMB MilliporeSigma Virtual Meeting Fellowship, to attend the 45th FEBS Congress USD 300        Mar. 2021
International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB)
 
Elected Junior Reviewer of Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology (JMCC)                                Jan. 2021-Present
 
Conjoint Lecturer, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia        Jan. 2021-Present
 
People’s Choice Award-Art of the Heart, IMAGINE: 3D reconstruction of hiPSC derived cardiomyocytes    Dec. 2020
Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, Sydney, Australia
 
Pan Pacific Connective Tissue Societies Symposium Conference Attendance Award                                    Oct. 2020
Matrix Biology & Matrix Biology Plus Journals
 
Doctoral Prize “Excellence of Doctoral Thesis 2019”, for the best Ph.D. thesis                                              Jan. 2020
Vicerrectoría de Investigación, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile                             
 
Fellowship for International Doctoral Thesis                                                                                                      Jan. 2018
Vicerrectoría de Investigación, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
 
Operational expenses to support the completion of the Doctoral Thesis, CONICYT                                      2017
 
Hermann Niemeyer Medal, for the best PhD. Student in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology                     Sep. 2016
Chilean Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
 
Support for presentation in International Congresses, to attend the Myogenesis GRC Italy                         2015
Vicerrectoría de Investigación, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
 
Best Image in Cell Biology, First Prize                                                                                                               Oct. 2014
Chilean Society for Cell Biology (SBCCh)
 
National Doctoral Fellowship, Beca de Doctorado Nacional Folio 21140378                                                 2014-2018
Comisión Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONICYT), Chile
 
Excellence Award for Doctoral Studies UC, Best Ph.D. Student                                                                     2014-2018
Vicerrectoría de Investigación, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
 
Award for Academic Excellence, awarded to the best student to enter the Doctorate                                  2014
Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
 
Undergraduate Student Excellence Fellowship of Honor, Best Undergraduate Student                               2010
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Osvaldo studies the cellular and molecular mechanisms underpinning mammalian heart development and congenital heart disease pathophysiology as well as heart repair and fibro-fatty deposition in heart failure and muscle regeneration and repair. His projects aim to extend our recent discoveries using human iPSCs to model hypoplastic left heart (a single-ventricle rare disease), one of the most severe congenital heart abnormalities.


Driving projects:
• Understand the cardiomyocyte cell cycle dynamics,
• Develop 3D IPSC-derived cardiomyocyte organoids,
• Characterise patient and parent organoids using multiple OMICS, robotics and sophisticated imaging and electrophysiology equipment, and
• Test candidate disease gene variants using CRISPR/Cas9 technology
• Characterize a mouse model of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF)
• Develop diverse 2D and 3D cell culture tools to understand fibro-fatty tissue deposition and tissue repair using stromal cells or fibroblasts
• Create an inclusive, equitable, and diverse working environment to supervise young researchers, including summer students, research assistants, honours, and PhD students
I also support a dynamic team of scientists studying heart development and adult heart repair.

Essential skills and techniques developed:
• High-dimensional flow cytometry of stromal and immune cells from different tissues and organs,
• Single-cell RNA sequencing analyses from skeletal muscle and heart tissues,
• High-throughput imaging analysis and high-resolution microscopy of cells and tissues
• Multi-parametric analysis to evaluate cell cycle and proliferation of multiple cell types
• Multitude of cell and molecular biology techniques, including but not limited to cloning, western blot, immunofluorescence, RT-qPCR, and CO-IPs, among others.