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Karlheinz PeterThe Baker Department of Cardiometabolic Health is a new department of the Melbourne Medical School and will leverage the Baker Institute and University of Melbourne strengths in cardiometabolic capabilities and collaboration.

This new Department welcomes the opportunity to enrol graduate research students in a Doctorate or Master of Philosophy, and will focus on research and innovation to improve the lives of people with, or at risk of, cardiovascular disease (CVD), obesity and diabetes. Projects will include:

  • Developing novel targets and therapeutics.
  • Using big data and new technologies, such as genomics, to transform prevention, diagnosis and disease management.
  • A focus on clinical translation.
  • Contributing to clinical service delivery and prevention.

Cardiometabolic dysfunction describes the interrelationships between a cluster of conditions that result in people with diabetes being disproportionately at risk of heart attack and stroke. This is a global health challenge affecting millions of people both across high-income countries and low to middle income countries, where lifestyle changes are driving the rise of chronic diseases and co-morbidities.

Heart disease is the leading killer of Australians, and diabetes is the fastest-growing chronic condition in Australia. Controlling risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), such as insulin resistance, obesity, high cholesterol, and hypertension, as well as finding new approaches to diagnosis and treatment for these diseases is key to reducing death and disability.

The Melbourne Medical School at the University of Melbourne is internationally renowned for global leadership in teaching and training, health research, policy and practice. They are at the heart of one of Australia’s premier biomedical clusters, the Melbourne Biomedical Precinct — whose 30+ partner institutions include major hospitals, including the Royal Melbourne Hospital and Austin Health — and research institutes and other organisations.

Since 1926, the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute has established a strong track record of scientific discovery and translation of these findings to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and related conditions. The Baker Institute research has paved the way for the recognition of two types of diabetes, the introduction of beta blockers and may other innovations in treatment and prevention.

Seed funding for collaborative projects

In June 2020, $500,000 of seed funding was competitively awarded to four research groups with appointments in the Baker Department of Cardiometabolic Health.

The seed funding will assist the progression of the research and likelihood for future external grant funding for the projects. We congratulate the Principal Investigators and research teams for tackling important areas of research in Cardiology and Obstetrics in a collaborative approach across Institutions. The successful grants listed below are led by Baker Institute(*) and University of Melbourne(^) researchers Professor Karlheinz Peter*,  Professor Peter Kistler*, Associate Professor Andre La Gerche* and Associate Professor Natalie Hannan^.

Structure-based development of novel anti-inflammatory drugs targeting C-reactive protein
Peter*, Parker^, Nero^, Shing^, Morton^, McFadyen*, Pieterz*, Krippner*

CAPLA trial: Catheter Ablation for persistent atrial fibrillation: a multicentre randomised trial of Pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) vs PVI with posterior Left Atrial wall isolation (PWI)
Kistler*, Kalman^, Lee^, Prabhu*, Sugmar*

Atrial remodelling and risk of arrhythmias in endurance athletes
La Gerche*, James^, Prior^

Risk of heart failure in women following preeclampsia: is prevention possible?
Hannan^, Brownfoot^, Said^, Neil^, Sen*^, Young*, Donner*, Kiriazis*

For more queries about this Department at the Baker Institute, please contact Leonie Cullen.


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With the rising number of Australians affected by diabetes, heart disease and stroke, the need for research is more critical than ever.

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