Theme Leader: Roger Dampney
This Research Theme undertakes research through several laboratory groups, with extensive cross-disciplinary inputs from some groups primarily associated with other Research Themes.
Cardiovascular disease related research is most strongly represented, with major programs examining new and innovative approaches to improve the management of heart attacks, the immunopathology of atherosclerosis and inherited risk factors for heart disease.
Respiratory disease research includes investigations of the consequences of sleep abnormalities, which themselves contribute to other major morbidities such as cardiovascular disease, and the lung complications of severe malaria.
Cross-disciplinary inputs are made from groups studying neuroendocrine regulation of blood pressure, and from electrophysiological studies of complex membrane events in muscle cells, both normally and following pathological insult.
There are a number of areas of particular research strength within the Research Theme. These include:
- clinical and experimental studies of cardiovascular disease;
- the roles of gene expression and polymorphisms in the development of cardiovascular disease;
- mechanisms controlling heart function and vascular tone.
There is considerable interaction between individual laboratories in those areas. For example, Stocker and Hunt collaborate on biochemical mechanisms that control vascular tone. The laboratories of Hambly and dos Remedios have a long-standing collaboration on studies of muscle function, using common technologies that they jointly developed.
As with the other Research Themes, there is a plan to increase interactions between all the members of the "Cardiovascular" Theme through a variety of mechanisms. Coordinated use of existing technologies and major equipment facilities between basic and clinical scientists will underpin improved translational research outputs. This will be facilitated by the recruitment of Stocker, who has an enormously strong track record of achievement in such interdisciplinary research.
There are excellent opportunities to build on the numerous existing interactions between the members of the "Cardiovascular" Theme and the other Research Themes. Reichardt, who joined the Institute in 2005, has a strong interest in atherosclerosis and his molecular biochemical approach will add considerably to existing strengths. The inflammation aspects of atherosclerosis prompt interactions with King and Sharland. Hunt has a joint project with Cook on lung oedema that will be expanded over the next three years with the participation of Grau and Stocker.
Desired impact on knowledge and/or practice
While some of the work described above constitutes basic research, the benefits of which will only be reaped in future years, much of the research has more direct and immediate clinical application to the health of the people of NSW. Of particular note are:
- Projects that focus on diagnosis and screening of disease, for example, finding new biomarkers for early ischaemia of the heart, and determining genetic lesions that lead to cardiac and vascular disease.
- Projects that will lead to new, more cost-effective treatments for diseases, for example, discovery of new treatments for myocardial ischaemia (early phase of heart attacks) that will substantially reduce the impact of a heart attack on the long term survival of the individual, or drugs that will minimise the impact of atherosclerosis.
- Projects that will lead to prevention of disease, for example, understanding the causes, and better management, of sleep disorders.
Laboratory Heads & Senior Researchers
|Mucosal Immunology Laboratory|
|Cardiovascular Disease Detection and Prevention|
|Cardiovascular Neuroscience Research Laboratory|
|Cardiac Proteomics Laboratory|
|Muscle Research Unit|
|Cardiac Proteomics Laboratory
Macromolecular Structure Laboratory
|Cardiac Proteomics Laboratory|
|Basic and Clinical Genomics Laboratory|
|Vascular Biology Laboratory
Redox Biology Group