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03 May 2024

Institute news

NHMRC grant recepients

Patients with obesity and heart failure, those at risk of heart attack and atrial fibrillation, and patients whose hearts are impacted by cancer treatments are set to benefit from more than $5.7million of funding awarded to three of our scientists.

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has committed $411 million in Investigator Grants funding to 229 researchers across Australia to tackle the nation’s greatest health challenges.

Our Head of Cardiovascular MRI, Dr Sarah Gutman, was awarded $462,000 over five years to determine whether weight loss in people living with obesity and heart failure will reverse the abnormalities that have developed in the heart. 

“We will also investigate whether a simple, non-invasive procedure — an MRI of the heart — can predict which patients living with obesity will develop heart failure,” Sarah said. 
“This work will inform treatment guidelines for patients with obesity and heart failure, and hopefully lead to improved health outcomes.”

Professor Karlheinz Peter’s grant of almost $3 million will be used in the fight against heart attack — the most common single cause of death in Australia.

“Even if survived, there is often substantial damage to the heart after a heart attack, causing its weakening,” Karlheinz said. “Using cutting-edge technologies, I aim to improve treatment and prevention of heart attacks. 

“This requires a better understanding of the causes of heart attacks, identification, and treatment of the heart vessel areas that are at risk of blocking off and causing heart attacks, and also the development of novel medication that can prevent damage to the heart.

“That’s what this funding will help us to discover.”

With the prevalence of heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and metabolic disorders increasing, Professor Julie McMullen aims to identify new therapeutic approaches and risk prediction markers of heart disease by understanding the differences between a healthy heart and failing heart in both males and females. 

She has been awarded more than $2.3 million in NHMRC funding to support her research.

The funding will go towards targeting the protective properties of exercise to prevent and treat cardiometabolic disease in males and females.

“We will generate knowledge for the development of new therapies for heart failure and atrial fibrillation, and for cardiotoxicity — the heart damage that arises from certain cancer treatments or drugs — in both males and females, and it will support the identification of markers for the earlier detection of cardiotoxicity, and atrial fibrillation susceptibility,” Julie said.

“The expected outcomes of this research are the development of new therapies, and the identification of blood markers that aid in the earlier detection of people at risk of heart disease”.


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