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Shining a light on disease within the community

Program head: Associate Professor Peter Meikle

Alterations in how we metabolise fats (lipids) underpins many chronic diseases including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and age related dementia.

While some lipid metabolic pathways are well characterised, their dysregulation resulting from environmental and genetic influences are less well understood, particularly in a setting of chronic disease. Modulation of these same metabolic pathways holds potential as an interventional strategy to prevent, attenuate or treat the major chronic diseases afflicting modern societies.

The Obesity and Diabetes Program asks the question: 'Can we identify strategies to elucidate and combat the metabolic underpinnings of chronic disease?'

To address this question the Program is working to characterise the relationship between lipid metabolism and chronic disease with a view to understanding disease mechanisms and developing treatments to prevent disease onset and progression. Successful strategies will be progressed through to translational studies involving clinical trials.

This program incorporates discovery, mechanistic studies, validation and translation stages into a pipeline to develop new therapeutic interventions in chronic disease.

  • Discovery
    Develop and apply a comprehensive suite of tools to identify and characterise metabolic pathways associated with chronic disease in patient populations and laboratory models.
  • Mechanistic studies
    Characterise the mechanistic links between dysregulation of lipid metabolism and disease pathogenesis.
  • Validation
    Perform targeted interventional studies in preclinical models of disease to determine the extent to which specific metabolic and inflammatory pathways contribute to disease etiology and the potential to modulate such metabolic pathways for therapeutic effect.
  • Translation
    Develop and trial new interventions, therapies or clinical procedures that combat the metabolic underpinnings of chronic disease. 

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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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