Dr Inken Martin
Senior Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute
Dr Inken Martin (published Huttner) is a German-trained MD/PhD with clinical and research training from the Universities of Berkeley, USA, Freiburg & Heidelberg, Germany, and Sydney. She is a senior postdoctoral researcher in the Molecular Cardiology Division at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, and holds a Conjoint Senior Lecturer appointment at the St Vincent’s Clinical School, UNSW. Within the laboratory of Prof Diane Fatkin, she has established a unique zebrafish cardiac research program that dedicated to modelling human adult inherited heart disease. In 2017, Inken won the Ralph Reader Basic Science Prize awarded by the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand. She is mother to three young daughters.
Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a common heart muscle disorder caused in around 25% of cases by truncating mutations in the titin gene. We have established several zebrafish models of titin truncation at different positions in the protein and show that not all cause DCM. Besides position effects, we show that environmental stressors, such as volume overload, alcohol, drugs and obesity affect disease severity. We are currently exploring the use of zebrafish in cardiovascular functional genomics to evaluate the effects of suspected pathogenic human gene variants on heart function. This will inform the analysis of whole genome sequencing data in patients with DCM and hopefully increase the yield of genetic testing.