Centre for In Vivo Imaging

Staff Profiles

Professor Deborah Henderson

Professor of Cardiac Development



Conyers School, Yarm, Stockton-on-Tees 1977-1984

BSc Applied Biology - Coventry Polytechnic (including 1 year sandwich placement) 1984-1988

PhD -  Royal Postgraduate Medical School, University of London (Molecular Biology) 1989-1992

Post Doctoral research – Institute of Child Health, University College London 1993-1999

British Heart Foundation Basic Science Lectureship - Institute of Child Health, University College 1999-2002

British Heart Foundation Basic Science Lectureship (renewed in 2005) - Institute of Human Genetics, Newcastle University 2002 – 2010 (promotion to Senior Lecturer in 2006)

Chair in Cardiovascular Development Institute Genetic Medicine, Newcastle University 2008– present

Deputy Director Institute of Genetic Medicine 2011-2014; 2017-2018

Deputy Dean of Research, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University 2011-2015

Dean of Research, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University 2015-2016

Director of Scientific Core Facilities, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University 2016-2019

Director of Human Developmental Biology Resource (Newcastle) 2018-present

Google SCHOLAR: https://scholar.google.co.uk/citations?user=56u7zckAAAAJ&hl=en

Orcid number: 000-0002-2705-5998


Cardiovascular developmental and disease modelling using mice and zebrafish, asking:

What are the developmental origins of congenital heart disease? Can we stratify congenital heart disease on the basis of the lineage of origin of the malformations?

How do the arterial valves form and what are the developmental origins of valve anomalies such as bicuspid aortic valve?

How can we promote resilience in adults with congenital heart disease?

What are the morphogenetic mechanisms that underlie common outflow anomalies?

Over one third of cardiac malformations affect the outflow region of the heart. During development a number of embryonic cell lineages come together to form the complex architecture of the aorta and pulmonary trunk. Together with Bill Chaudhry, we are discovering how different cellular and molecular signalling pathways – particularly the non canonical Wnt, planar cell polarity pathway - are necessary for the normal development of the outflow vessels and are linked to outflow malformations.

The developmental origins of bicuspid aortic valve

Bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) is the most common congenital anomaly that predisposes to adult cardiovascular disease.  Bill Chaudhry and I are investigating how the normal aortic valve forms and elaborating the pathological mechanisms that lead to BAV.

Left-right signalling and planar cell polarity in cardiac development

Disturbances in the planar cell polarity pathway and in left-right specification cause heart malformations in mice and zebrafish. Together with Bill Chaudhry, I am asking if these pathways are linked and if they may point to a genetic cause for malformations such as double outlet right ventricle and atrial/ventricular septal defects.

Resilience in ACHD

Children with congenital heart disease now survive into adulthood and are a growing patient group. As part of a collaborative research effort with Louise Coats and Bill Chaudhry I am interested in understanding their issues, both medical and psychosocial, with the aim of maintaining their holistic wellbeing through finding biomarkers that will indicate problems before they become clinically apparent and by investigating how we can give this divers patient group the type and degree of support they need.

Technical expertise

Laboratory models of cardiovascular disease disease, particularly utilising Cre-lox mice.

Cardiac morphology and developmental anatomy


Robert Anderson, Visiting Professor of cardiac morphology

Lorraine Eley, BHF Senior Research Associate

Ahlam Alqahtani, Postdoc

Mashael Alaradi, PhD student


My teaching responsibilities at Newcastle University are closely linked with my research activity. I provide undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in developmental genetics, cardiovascular development and congenital heart disease. In the laboratory I provide supervision for PhD, master’s and undergraduate students from our own biomedical sciences course and from other universities across the UK and abroad.

Genetics (BGM1004)

Cardiovascular Science in Health and Disease (MMB8037)