Novel therapies for atherosclerotic plaque stabilization

Research Opportunity
PhD students, Masters by Research
Number of Master Places Available
1
Department / Centre
Baker Department of Cardiometabolic Health
Location
Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Prof Karlheinz Peter Karlheinz.Peter@baker.edu.au Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Smriti MURALI KRISHNA smriti.krishna@unimelb.edu.au 0400463101 Personal web page
Dr Yung-Chih (Ben) Chen yungchih.chen@unimelb.edu.au

Summary Our research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms that drive atherosclerotic plaque formation and plaque rupture in cardiovascular diseases. We aim to deeply characterise the fundamental molecular pathways underlying plaque formation and rupture using translational disease models and novel therapeutic agents.

Project Details

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), principally ischemic heart disease including myocardial infarction (heart attacks) and stroke, are the leading cause of global mortality and a major contributor to disability. The underlying cause of most CVDs is the formation of lipid-laden atherosclerotic plaques in medium and large arteries, such as those that supply the heart and brain with blood. Stable plaques grow slowly over several decades until they may cause stenosis or occlusion. Unstable or “vulnerable” plaques are prone to spontaneous erosion, fissure, or rupture, causing acute thrombosis (blood clots), occlusion, and infarction long before they cause hemodynamically significant stenosis. Majority of clinical events or CVD mortality result from unstable plaques. Thus, plaque stabilization is a promising approach to reduce morbidity and mortality.

Our research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms that drive atherosclerotic plaque formation and rupture in CVDs. We aim to deeply characterise the fundamental molecular pathways underlying plaque formation and rupture using novel translational disease models and cutting edge-technologies. Based on novel genomic data from polygenic risk score predictions, we identified novel targets that will be assessed to validate their causative role and therapeutic potential. We will use novel theranostic agents for diagnosis and targeted delivery of therapeutics to stabilise the vulnerable plaques. With a particular focus on translational relevance, we will assess the potential of novel therapies such as stem cell-derived exosomes and novel small-molecule inhibitors preventing plaque rupture.

In this research we will use techniques such as:

  • Translational animal models
  • Confocal Microscopy
  • Multiphoton Microscopy
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Cell Culture
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Molecular assays


Faculty Research Themes

School Research Themes

Ageing, Cardiometabolic



Research Opportunities

PhD students, Masters by Research
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 Node

Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute

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