About Professor Helge Ramussen

Prof Rasmussen has had a longstanding interest in regulation of the Na+-K+ pump in cardiac myocytes by hormones implicated in the pathogenesis of heart failure. His work has led to a paradigm shift in our understanding of how receptor- and protein kinase-dependent cell signalling regulate the pump, one of nature’s most fundamentally important protein molecules. Work from his laboratory has shown that effective drugs cause blockade of neurohormone-induced Na+-K+ pump inhibition, i.e., effectively pump stimulation, while drugs that turned out to be harmful in clinical trials cause inhibition. These results were in good agreement with firmly established adverse roles of raised myocyte Na+ levels in the molecular mechanisms of heart failure, but not with consensus views in the literature on effects of receptor-coupled, protein-kinase-dependent signalling on Na+-K+ pump activity in cardiac myocytes.

Prof Rasmussen is a well-recognized cardiologist with a subspecialty interest in percutaneous coronary intervention (“angioplasty”), in particular in acute myocardial infarction. He has a longstanding interest (more than 30 years) in regulation of the Na+-K+ pump in cardiac myocytes by hormones implicated in the pathogenesis of heart failure. Prof. Rasmussen and his team has a unique track record of combining complementary expertise in functional Na+-K+ pump studies by myocyte patch clamp techniques, traditionally used independently of each other in different laboratories. The whole-cell patch clamp technique is technically challenging. Prof. Rasmussen has had extensive experience in the theoretical aspects of the protocols to be used. His dual role in clinical medicine and science places him in a good position for identifying scientific discoveries that may have clinical implications for treatments of heart disease.

Prof Rasmussen is a hospital-based clinical cardiologist who practices general cardiology. He has a subspeciality interest in emergency percutaneous coronary intervention PCI, ("angioplasty") in acute myocardial infarction. Despite working a 1-in-4 roster of a high-volume program delivering 24 hours/7 days/week emergency PCI for patients with myocardial infarction since 1997 he is a clinician-scientist who has made pivotal contributions to understanding the role of the Na+-K+ pump as a therapeutic target in heart failure, to fundamental research on the mechanisms of regulation of Na+-K+ pump activity and to translation of his research into clinical applications.

Selected publications

For a full list of Professor Rasmussen's publications please see his Sydney Medical School academic profile page: link here