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cardiovascular biology blog

CCVB researchers awarded more than $2.8 million in NHMRC funding


CCVB researchers awarded more than $2.8 million in NHMRC funding

We are pleased to announce the results of the 2015 National Health and Medical Research Council funding round for researchers at the Centre for Cardiac & Vascular Biology. This new funding will facilitate research into cardiovascular development, disease and regenerative medicine.


Our researchers received $2,847,447 in funding for 5 new awards, including 4 Project Grants to Justin Cooper-White, Enzo Porrello, Kelly Smith, Ben Hogan and Mathias Francois and a Career Development Fellowship to Enzo Porrello.


Our NHMRC Project Grants contributed over 7% of the $31.7 million awarded to UQ researchers. “This is great news for cardiovascular research at UQ,” said Ben Hogan.


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the single leading cause of death in Australia. Heart, stroke and vascular diseases claim the lives of one Australian every 12 minutes and are the main cause of an estimated 500,000 hospitalisations each year. Research into the causes, treatment and prevention of CVD is therefore crucial to improving the lives of all Australians.


NHMRC funded research projects:


Kelly Smith, IMB
We know that the heart requires a network of specific genes to grow and function correctly. If a gene in the network is defective, structural heart anomalies can occur, leading to CVD. Kelly Smith together with Mat Francois and their teams will investigate specific genes in this network. Understanding these genes and their function is an essential foundation to developing new strategies for the diagnosis and treatment of cardiac disease.


Mat Francois, IMB
Mat Francois received a project grant that will allow his team to investigate the genetic control of lymphatic vessel formation. The lymphatic vessels in our tissues function to maintain normal fluid balance. When these vessels are defective fluid homeostasis is lost, resulting in lymphatic vascular diseases including chronic inflammatory diseases and lymphoedema. We also know that these vessels contribute to cancer metastasis. This research grant will enable the Francois group to decipher the gene networks that instruct specific cells to become lymphatic vessels.


Ben Hogan, IMB
Ben Hogan, together with Dr Cas Simons (Institute for Molecular Bioscience, UQ) and their teams received a project grant to study a newly discovered gene, indispensable for lymphatic vessel formation. Learning more about this gene and how it regulates the formation of lymphatic vessels will give us crucial insight into how the lymphatics may be controlled in vascular diseases and cancer.


Justin Cooper-White, AIBN and Enzo Porrello, SBMS
It is estimated that 54,000 Australians suffer a heart attack each year. Justin Cooper-White and Enzo Porrello received a project grant to investigate cardiac repair through cellular reprogramming. Their teams will use direct reprogramming to convert adult heart support cells into functional heart cells. The discoveries made from this research offer the potential to use regenerative medicine to repair damaged heart tissue following a heart attack.


Enzo Porrello, SBMS
In addition to the NHMRC Project Grants, Enzo Porrello was awarded an RD Wright Biomedical Career Development Fellowship. Enzo and his team will employ an RNA-based strategy to investigate heart regeneration. The outcomes of this study will direct us in devising new strategies for cardiac repair.