Tissue regeneration and homeostasis loss with a focus on the stromal and stem cell compartments

Osvaldo Contreras, MSc, PhD

Post-Doctoral Scientist, Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology Division, Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, Lowy Packer Building, 405 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst, 2010, NSW, Australia

Conjoint Lecturer, Faculty of Medicine & Health, UNSW Sydney, Australia

P: (02) 9295 8622 | E: o.contreras@victorchang.edu.au  | W: www.victorchang.edu.au 

Osvaldo is a cell biologist and biomedical researcher specializing in tissue regeneration and homeostasis loss in mammals, with a focus on the stromal and stem cell compartments. He graduated from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in 2012, where he studied the developmental role of the Wnt-PCP pathway and Syndecan-4 in neural tube closure and cochlear development under the supervision of Prof. Juan Larrain. After earning his MSc degree, he obtained his PhD in cell and molecular biology in 2019. His PhD research, conducted in Prof. Enrique Brandan's Lab at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and co-supervised by Prof. Fabio Rossi (FRSC) at the University of British Columbia, focused on the fate, plasticity, and heterogeneity of tissue-resident fibro-adipogenic progenitor cells in muscle regeneration and repair. Since completing his PhD, Osvaldo has dedicated his research to understanding myopathies and the fate determination and differentiation of myogenic and fibroblast cells in the context of fibro-fatty deposition. His work centers on three major signaling pathways: PDGF, TGF-B, and Wnt, and their interactions.

As a Postdoctoral Scientist, Dr. Contreras works on stem cell-based strategies to enhance our understanding of heart development and repair under the supervision of Prof. Richard Harvey (FRS) at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute. He also holds a Conjoint Lecturer position at UNSW Sydney's Faculty of Medicine and Health. Osvaldo has successfully secured >600,000 USD in governmental fellowships and awards as an early-career researcher. He has established numerous national and international collaborations and is part of prominent research networks. He has published 26 peer-reviewed articles, which have garnered over 1,020 citations, and he has an H-index of 16. 

Committed to advancing his field, Osvaldo serves as an editor and reviewer for several leading international journals and reviews international grants and fellowships. His research leadership has been recognized through memberships in various societies and multiple accolades, including the Hermann Niemeyer Medal for the best PhD student in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the Chilean Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2016, the Excellence of Doctoral Thesis 2019 prize, the 2022 Miltenyi Research Award, the Inaugural Rising Star Award from the Australian Society for Stem Cell Research, and the Humberto Maturana Romesín Prize from the Chilean Biological Society, also in 2022.

As an early-career researcher, Dr. Contreras is committed to promoting and advocating for research, science culture, diversity, and equity, acting as member of the Postdoctoral Development Committee (2021-2024) and Diversity Committee (2020-2023) and was recently selected as an eLife Community Ambassador (2022). He also co-founded and served as co-chair of the IUBMB Trainee Initiative (2022-2023), which promotes scientific activities and research culture internationally. Osvaldo's career goals include becoming a research leader, advancing our knowledge of the mechanisms regulating cellular plasticity, heterogeneity, and behavior, and translating that knowledge into effective medical applications to improve human health and well-being.

My 2019 "First Person" interview from Journal of Cell Science offers a good glance about what I like, my research is about, and how much I enjoy being a scientist:

I hope you like studying cells as much as I do!