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These domains reflect the breadth of the Institute’s chronic disease remit and provide the management structure for the Institute, supported by a Science Faculty led by Professor Karlheinz Peter.

Basic Research Domain

This domain encompasses most of the Institute’s laboratory-based cellular and molecular biology and preclinical research.

The scientists in the Basic Research Domain aim to identify new avenues for the design of diagnostic, preventative and therapeutic strategies to tackle cardiovascular disease, diabetes and its complications. They aim to understand the cellular mechanisms of disease, biomarkers in the progression of disease and the pathways of gene expression.

A key focus of this domain is on translating exciting discoveries in the laboratory to clinical care.

This domain is led by researcher, Associate Professor Julie McMullen, Head of Cardiac Hypertrophy.

Translational Research Domain

This domain encompasses the Institute’s human research-focussed laboratories, with a concentration on preclinical studies and the clinical translation of research findings into health and community settings.

Researchers are focused on improving the diagnosis and therapy for patients with heart failure, coronary artery disease, vascular disease, atherosclerosis, metabolic disease and those who have suffered a heart attack.

The research spans laboratory-based work examining the molecular and cellular mechanisms of disease and disease risk through to the development of novel therapeutic approaches to treat, and in some cases, reverse cardiovascular disease, diabetes and its complications.

Clinical Research Domain

The Clinical Research Domain concentrates on human or clinical research. It has a particular focus on using imaging and other diagnostic tools to better inform the understanding of disease development and treatment, clinical trials to evaluate new treatments and health services research to inform how health care can be best delivered. Many of our researchers are also clinicians who work in a clinic or hospital setting. They are predominantly heart and diabetes specialists whose research is informed by the needs of their patients.

The Clinical Research Domain also incorporates the Institute’s clinical service activities in both Melbourne and Central Australia, including the important partnerships that the Baker Institute shares with other organisations to improve health outcomes in these communities. This includes specialised heart, diabetes, lung, eye and weight reduction clinics, as well as a broad range of allied health and education services.

A key aim of the domain is translating research discoveries from our human studies into novel and improved ways of preventing, diagnosing and treating heart disease and diabetes and their complications. The ultimate goal is to enhance health, reduce disability, improve quality of life and address health disparities.

Associate Professor Andre La Gerche is the lead of this Domain.

Population Health Domain

This domain encompasses the Institute’s epidemiological and public health groups, spanning clinical diabetes and obesity, genomics and systems biology, physical activity, population health and behavioural epidemiology.

The researchers in this domain are examining the trends in diabetes and obesity prevalence and incidence, novel risk factors at a population level, and new therapeutic approaches to preventing and treating diabetes, heart disease and obesity. These include behavioural change interventions, especially those aimed at reducing sedentary time, as well as new drugs and management strategies.

The work of this domain is helping to inform policy guidelines, to influence chronic disease management, to offer new evidence-based therapies for health professionals and inform government and health authorities about the scale of these health problems.

This domain is led by Diabetes physician and researcher, Professor Jonathan Shaw, Head of Clinical Diabetes.

Aboriginal Health Domain

This domain encompasses the Institute’s work in Aboriginal health across Australia, the activities of the Baker Institute campus in Alice Springs and the Institute’s interests in international Indigenous health.

The Institute has had a strong focus on Aboriginal health for more than 10 years, with a dedicated research facility opening in Alice Springs adjacent to the Alice Springs Hospital in 2007. A growing team of researchers in Central Australia and across the country have forged important partnerships and collaborations to help address the profound disadvantage experienced by Aboriginal people through scientific research that is rigorous, culturally appropriate and ethically sound.

The research undertaken is based on community needs, with a strong focus on working with local providers to build knowledge and provide practical contributions to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s health.

Dr Lloyd Einsiedel is the acting lead of this Domain.

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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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