Member Listing


Dunja Aksentijevic



Other Affiliation

The Rayne Institute, BHF Centre of Research Excellence, Kings College London



Research Summary

I am an associate lecturer in Cardiovascular Division at King’s BHF Centre of Research Excellence with 8 years of cardiac metabolism scientific research experience (at the University of Oxford BHF Centre of Research Excellence, Prof Stefan Neubauer’s group and Prof Michael Shattock’s research group at the Rayne Institute, King’s College London) with the expertise in cellular biochemistry (cardiovascular metabolism, physiology, insulin resistance, chronic renal failure, NMR spectroscopy, metabolomics, mitochondrial biology).I am currently endeavouring to combine my interdisciplinary skills in cardiac physiology, metabolism and NMR to establish my own research niche to investigate the metabolic drivers and consequences of hypoxic fetal programming, role of Nai in diabetic cardiomyopathy and developing NMR techniques to non-invasively, in real time measure free radical production and oxidant stress. I am also an academic tutor (University of Oxford and King’s College London), lecturer, admissions tutor and graduate student supervisor. Furthermore I am actively involved in science outreach projects as a volunteer expert mentor in iSerbia scientific knowledge transfer programme as well as for British Heart Foundation campaigns.
To date I researched, wrote, edited, contributed and published 17 manuscripts (2 featured on Nature and Cell Metabolism covers), conference abstracts and international presentations in addition to reviewing studies for the Journal of Molecular and Cell Cardiology, Diabetes, PLOS One, JOVE and Experimental Physiology.

1) Langendorff heart perfusions and ex-vivo cardiac function analysis (murine and rodent hearts)
2) Cardiac 13C, 31P, 23Na NMR spectroscopy, 1H MRS metabolomics: metabolic data acquisition and
analysis (in situ NMR heart perfusions)
3) Mitochondrial isolation and respiration measurements (murine and rodent experimental models)
4) Murine cardiac fibre isolation and mitochondrial respiration measurements
5) Myocardial oxygen consumption measurements (using NeoFox optical probes)
6) In vitro spectrophotometric enzyme assays (adenylate kinase, creatine kinase, GAPDH, 3-
phosphoglycerate kinase, pyruvate kinase, pyruvate dehydrogenase, lactate dehydrogenase, citrate synthase, mitochondrial respiratory complex I-IV, F1F0ATP synthase, free fatty acid and glucose concentration determination, pentose phosphate pathway constituent enzyme activities, endogenous glycogen and triglyceride content assessment, creatine kinase isoenzyme analysis)
7) 5/6 nephrectomy surgical procedure (chronic kidney disease experimental model)
8) In-vivo non-invasive physiological and biochemical measurements (HOMA insulin resistance
index, glucose tolerance test, insulin tolerance test, blood pressure monitoring, blood sampling)
9) Cardiomyocyte isolation (murine and rodent) and biochemical measurements in isolated cells
using light and confocal microscopy
10) SDS PAGE and Western Blotting protein analysis
11) Coronary vascular casting /microvascular corrosion casting (murine and rodent experimental models)
12) High performance liquid chromatography


Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Developmental Biology, Medical Devices and Therapeutics

Selected Publications

1) Aksentijević, D. Lewis, H. Shattock, MJ. (2016) Assessing cardiac ‘effort’ and oxygen consumption in the Langendorff-perfused heart. Is rate-pressure product of any use? Experimental Physiology
101(2): 282–294

2) Cole, MA*. Abd Jamil*, AH. Heather, LC. Murray,AJ. Sutton,ER. Slingo,M. Sebag-Montefiore, L. Tan, SC. Aksentijević,D et al. (2016) “On the pivotal role of PPARa in adaptation of the heart to hypoxia and why fat in the diet increases hypoxic injury” FASEB Journal, in press

3) Mansor, LS. Keshavi, M. Aksentijević, D. et al. (2016) Increased oxidative metabolism following hypoxia in the type 2 diabetic heart, despite normal hypoxia signalling and metabolic adaptation, Journal of Physiology 594(2):307-20

4) Eykyn, TR.* Aksentijević, D.* et al. (2015) Multiple quantum filtered 23Na NMR revisited: Ratio of Triple/ Double quantum filtered signals correlate with Nai in the Langendorff perfused mouse heart *authors contributed equally Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology 86:95-101

5) Robb, EL. Gawel, JM. Aksentijević et al. (2015) Selective superoxide generation within mitochondria by the targeted redox cycler MitoParaquat. Free Radical Biology and Medicine 8;89:883-894

6) Aksentijević, D. et al. (2014) Cardiac dysfunction and peri-weaning mortality in malonyl-coenzyme A decarboxylase (MCD) knockout mice as a consequence of restricting substrate plasticity. Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology 75:76-87

7) Chouchani E.* Pell V.* Gaude E. Aksentijević, D. et al. (2014) Ischaemic accumulation of succinate controls reperfusion injury through mitochondrial ROS. Nature, 515(7527):431-5,

8) Aksentijević, D. et al. (2014) Myocardial creatine levels do not influence response to acute oxidative stress in isolated perfused heart. PLOS One, 1;9(10):e109021
9) Lygate, CA. Aksentijević, D. et al. (2013) Living without creatine: Unchanged voluntary exercise capacity and response to chronic myocardial infarction in creatine-deficient mice Circulation Research 112:945-955

10) Ashrafian, H. Czibik, G*,Bellahcene, M* Aksentijević, D. et al. (2012) Fumarate exerts cardioprotective effects via activation of the Nrf2 antioxidant pathway Cell Metabolism 15 (3): 361-371

11) Aksentijević D. et al. (2010) High energy phosphotransfer in the failing mouse heart: role of adenylate kinase and glycolytic enzymes European Journal of Heart Failure 12:1282-1289.

12) Aksentijević, D. Bhandari, S. Seymour, A. M. (2009) Insulin resistance and altered glucose transporter 4 expression in experimental uremia Kidney International 75: 711-8