Characterising a New Target to Treat Fatty Liver Disease

Research Opportunity
Honours students
Number of Honour Places Available
Department / Centre
Baker Department of Cardiometabolic Health
Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
A/Professor Anna Calkin Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
A/Professor Brian Drew Personal web page

Summary Our laboratory has identified PSMD9 as a novel target for the treatment of fatty liver disease. This project will test its effectiveness as a therapy to protect the liver against this condition and further characterize the mechanisms by which PSMD9 is protective.

Project Details

Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is a condition suffered by over 6 million Australians. It is characterised by the accumulation of excess fat in the liver and is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Fatty liver disease can develop into more advanced disease, known as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), characterised by scarring and inflammation, and for a small number of individuals, can eventually lead to liver cancer.  Currently, there are few effective tools available to diagnose this condition and there are no effective treatments, highlighting an unmet clinical need.
Using a novel discovery platform, we recently identified PSMD9 as a potential new target for the treatment of NAFLD/NASH (1). In short term studies, we have demonstrated that PSMD9 was effective at reducing key pathways in the liver linked to the development of NAFLD, and more recent studies have shown effectiveness in longer term studies in a model of NASH. Using cells and preclinical models, this project will contribute to our understanding of the ways in which PSMD9 induces liver protection and will guide studies towards clinical translation.
Given that over 6 million Australians have fatty liver disease, identifying an effective new therapy to treat this condition has the potential to impact the lives of many Australians.
*1. Parker BL*, Calkin AC#*.... Drew BG# An integrative systems genetic analysis of mammalian lipid metabolism. NATURE 2019;567(7747):187-193.

School Research Themes


Research Opportunities

Honours students
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.

Department / Centre

Baker Department of Cardiometabolic Health

Research Group / Unit / Centre

Lipid Metabolism and Cardiometabolic Disease Group

Research Node

Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute

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