Nathan Rout-Pitt

Dr Nathan Rout-Pitt

NHMRC Grant-Funded Researcher A

Adelaide Medical School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences


I I completed my PhD at the University of Adelaide in 2015 with a focus on bone disease in the group of lysosomal storage disorders, Mucopolysaccharidoses.

In late 2015, I joined the CF Airway Research Group (CFARG) where I lead the vector production core and have produced lentiviral vectors for CFARG and Australia-wide laboratories. During this time I have developed and published a method to scale up vector production by as much as 5x. I also developed and published methods for bronchoscopic delivery of liquids such as lentiviral vectors, cells and drugs to single lobes of rat lungs.

In 2018 I began investigating airway remodelling and fibrosis development in CF lungs. A $75,000 Women's and Children's foundation grant allowed me to begin exploring the alterations in cellular architecture of our D508 and 510X CF rat models and their sensitivity to the process of epithelial-mesenchymal transition, which under chronic inflammatory conditions leads to fibrosis.

I briefly left CFARG for a year (2021) to return to lysosomal storage disorders and bone disease, this time looking at Gaucher disease before returning. Upon my return, I have continued with my previous investigations into the developmental/mechanistic pathways leading to lung fibrosis in CF. I have now begun a new project investigating CF bone disease (CFBD) which typically presents with decreased bone mineral volume and short stature and higher risk of fractures. Decreased trabecular number around the growth plate of long bones and previously reported issues at the hypertrophic zone, there is a need to better understand mechanisms at play in the growth plate that could be leading to CFBD.

Honours projects currently available

Project 1

Title: Identifying altered pathways that lead to increased lung stiffness in CF rats models

Description: CF rat models do not develop overt lung disease like humans. However, our newer data suggests that there is evidence of more subtle alterations to the lungs of our CF rat models including lung stiffness; a sign of fibrotic tissue. The aim of this project is to identify markers and pathways of lung fibrosis in our CF rat models using immunohistochemistry, Western blotting and gene expression techniques. This will allow us to visualise the effectiveness of our CFTR gene addition therapies at the molecular level. 

Co-supervisor(s): Dr Martin Donnelley, Nikki Reyne

Projects available for: Honours and Masters

Location: Women's and Children's Hospital

Research project start: Semester 1 or 2

 

Project 2

Title: Identifying differences in the growth plates of CF rats and the outcomes it has on CF bone disease

Description: Children with CF as young as six years of age have reduced bone mineral density and a ten-fold increase in fracture risk compared to non-CF children, due to a condition termed CF related Bone Disease (CFBD), which has a prevalence of 17% in CF patients. The increased incidence of fractures in CF patients is clinically significant as they can contribute to negative outcomes for the patient. For example, a diagnosis of severe bone disease can mean that a patient becomes ineligible to receive a lung transplant as the post-surgery mortality rates are increased. 

Our recent investigations using CT imaging have found abnormalities in the bone development of the CF rats, including decreased bone volume/total volume (BV/TV), trabecular number and trabecular separation in the proximal area of tibiae in our CF rat model. Other research has shown shorter long bone length in CF rats. Both of these findings are likely due to issues with growth plate function and subsequent endochondral ossification. 

The aim of this project is to a) determine histological differences between normal and our Phe508del and knockout rat models, and b) identify changes in the different zones of the growth plate through gene expression and immunohistochemistry. 

Co-supervisor(s): TBC

Projects available for: Honours and Masters

Location: Women's and Children's Hospital

Research project start: Semester 1 or 2

2019 N. Rout-Pitt, N. Farrow, J. Delhove, D. Parsons, M. Donnelley, WCH Foundation Grant: “Cell plasticity of the airways: Understanding the stem cell niche to optimise gene therapy and stem cell targeting”, $75,000

2018 N. Rout-Pitt, Cure 4 Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Grant: "Lentiviral vector production facility management", $41,828

2017 M. Donnelley, C. McIntyre, N. Rout-Pitt, A. McCarron, D. Parsons, Channel 7 Childrens Research Foundation Grant: “Improving the efficiency of cystic fibrosis airway gene therapy”, $74,213

 

I am passionate about science and have over ten years research experience as a molecular biologist in bone and respiratory diseases in multi-disciplinary teams delivering high quality research.

I have mentored many placement, honours, masters and PhD students. In 2021 I supervised my first student in the Masters of Biotechnology program within the School of Biological Sciences and was provided with a glowing thank you in her thesis.

'...I would like to thank my other supervisor, Dr Nathan Rout-Pitt. Thank you for your careful guidance to my every experiment and giving me the most detailed opinions in the process of my writing. I think he is the most responsible and patient supervisor I have seen in Australia in the past two years. Even in my 18 years of school, I haven't met such a good supervisor as him'

  • Position: NHMRC Grant-Funded Researcher A
  • Phone: 81619179
  • Email: nathan.rout-pitt@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: Womens & Childrens Hospital
  • Building: WCH - Gilbert Building, floor 6
  • Org Unit: Women's and Children's Health

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