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Atherosclerosis is a complex disease involving impairment of many metabolic processes. Targeting each individual element of pathogenesis of atherosclerosis helps, but combined targeting of several elements may be more effective considerably reducing risk of cardiovascular disease. One possibility is to target specialised organelles on cell membrane, called “lipid rafts”. Lipid rafts are organelles on cell membrane where many elements of machinery responsible for regulation of cellular metabolism are situated. When lipid rafts are damaged that leads to simultaneous impairment of several metabolic processes in a various cell types contributing to pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. We collaborate with a number of overseas researchers and have recently identified compounds that 'normalise' damaged lipid rafts. This involves changing lipid composition of the rafts, but the exact mechanism of how this happens is unclear.

Our studies are aimed at understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanism of these effects and their implications for physiology of different cells involved in pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and other metabolic diseases. We will also test the utility of this approach to treat atherosclerosis and other metabolic diseases.

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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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