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Lipid Metabolism and Cardiometabolic Disease

Preventing the onset of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes

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Laboratory head

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Latest Achievements

Member, ACvA Emerging Leaders Committee (2018–ongoing)

Australian Atherosclerosis Society Executive Committee Member (2017–2018)

National Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellow (2014–2018)

National Heart Foundation Overseas Fellow (2009–2013)

Sir Laurence Muir Medal for Outstanding Medical Research, Baker Institute (2015)

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Associate Professor Anna Calkin Baker Institute Fellow
We are identifying novel ways to inhibit the damage caused by excess lipids so we can prevent the onset of cardiometabolic disease.


About the Lipid Metabolism and Cardiometabolic Disease laboratory

One in three individuals has elevated blood lipid levels, putting them at increased risk of developing a range of conditions including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The excess lipids can be deposited in tissues where they mediate a variety of pathological effects. In the liver they can promote the onset of insulin resistance and fatty liver disease; in the heart they can promote atherosclerotic lesion formation, damage the heart muscle and lead to a poorer prognosis after a heart attack. Therefore, we need unique strategies to identify novel regulators of lipid metabolism that have the potential to be targeted to treat these conditions.

The research program of the Lipid Metabolism and Cardiometabolic Disease laboratory takes a systems genetics approach, combining large scale ‘omics datasets from humans and genetic panels of mice with validation in cells and preclinical models, to unravel the mechanistic underpinnings of cardiometabolic disease. This allows us to identify novel therapeutic targets for the prevention of cardiometabolic disease as outlined in the figure below.

Target validation

The labs recent studies include the development of a world first multi-omics platform that combined cutting edge proteomics and lipidomics across genetically diverse preclinical models to interrogate hepatic lipid metabolism. This approach identified novel regulators and clinically relevant biomarkers of fatty liver disease, resulting in patents and collaborations with pharmaceutical companies. 

Research focus

  • Identification of novel biomarkers of fatty liver disease and progressive liver disease.
  • Identification and validation of novel regulators of hepatic lipid metabolism with therapeutic potential to treat fatty liver disease.
  • Identification of novel therapeutic targets strategies to attenuate coronary artery disease.
  • Modulation of cardiac metabolism to improve prognosis post-myocardial infarction.
  • Understanding of the importance of cholesterol in the regulation of hepatic glucose metabolism.

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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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