Prof. Nicholas Leeper, Stanford, Associate Professor of Surgery (Vascular Surgery) and of Medicine (Cardiovascular Medicine) - AAS.
The Leeper laboratory studies the vascular biology of atherosclerosis and aneurysm disease. They are interested in the molecular mechanisms that mediate vascular disease, and developing new translational therapies directed against them. Their group uses a combination of hypothesis-free genetic approaches, favoring the concept that insights generated in this manner are likely to have relevance to human disease. Currently, the Leeper lab's major focus is on the chromosome 9p21 locus, which is widely recognized as the most important heritable cardiovascular locus identified through genome-wide association studies (GWAS). They seek to fully explain how this locus - which affects over 20% of the population - potentiates coronary disease, stroke and aneurysms, and does so independently of all classical risk factors.
Prof. Anne Eichmann, Yale Cardiovascular Research Center. - AVBS
Ensign Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) and Professor of Cellular and Molecular Physiology. Anne’s laboratory studies vascular and lymphatic development, with particular emphasis on mechanisms that direct patterning and guidance. Specialized endothelial cells (EC) called tip cells located at the extremities of growing capillary sprouts mediate guided vascular patterning. Tip cells exhibit characteristic features, including extension of filopodia that explore the tip cell environment, lack of a lumen and a slow proliferation rate. EC behind tip cells, termed stalk cells form the capillary lumen and proliferate.
RD Wright invited Lecturer: HBPRCA
Professor Martha Gulati, MD, MS, FACC, FAHA, Division Chief, Cardiology, College of Medicine, Phoenix Arizona. As division chief of Cardiology for the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix and physician executive director for the Banner – University Medicine Heart Institute, Dr. Martha Gulati leads educational activities in cardiovascular sciences for medical students, residents and fellows at the college and Banner Health. She also heads clinical heart care as the director of the Cardiovascular Institute at Banner. She completed medical school at the University of Toronto, Canada; her internship, residency and cardiology fellowship at the University of Chicago; is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association; and is board-certified in cardiovascular disease.
Colin I Johnston invited Lecturer: HBPRCA
Associate Professor, Elisabeth Lambert, Swinburne University of Technology.
A/Prof Elisabeth Lambert joined the Faculty of Health, Art and Design in February 2017. She previously worked at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute for 18 years. Elisabeth’s research program focusses on the sympathetic nervous function in a number of important clinical conditions such as hypertension, obesity, metabolic syndrome, type-2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease. Most of her efforts have focused on the understanding of the role played by the sympathetic nervous system in the development of metabolic abnormalities and organ damage with a view of implementing novel treatment modalities in order to decrease cardiovascular risk.
Austin Doyle invited Lecturer: HBPRCA
Professor Suzanne Cory, BSc Melb PhD Cantab Hon DSc Syd Hon DSc Oxon FAA FRS, Laboratory Head, Blood Cells and Blood Cancer Division, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.
Professor Cory’s laboratory investigates the role of different genetic changes in the development of leukemia and lymphoma. They also examine how these changes influence the response of cancer cells to chemotherapy. They study leukaemogenesis, with a particular focus on MYC, a potent oncoprotein, and the BCL-2 family of proteins, which control cell life and death. They pioneered transgenic models of human Burkitt’s lymphoma, which is provoked by MYC, and follicular lymphoma, provoked by BCL-2. They collaborated in the development of agents called BH3 mimetics, which block the action of specific pro-survival Bcl-2 family proteins. Using their models, they have shown that a combination of a BH3 mimetic with low dose chemotherapy is highly efficacious in vivo against aggressive lymphomas that express high levels of BCL-2 and MYC. They are now testing BH3 mimetic combination therapy to treat acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).
National Invited Speakers:
Prof Erica Fletcher of University of Melbourne, is a Professor of the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience and has over 15 years’ experience in ophthalmological research. She is a clinically trained optometrist who holds both MSc and PhD degrees, which was completed in 1996 investigating the neurochemical changes that occur in an animal model of retinal degeneration. Prof Fletcher’s postdoctoral training was undertaken with Prof. Dr. Heinz Wässle, at the Max-Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt, Germany funded by an NHM&MRC CJ Martin Award. Prof Fletcher has been a tenured academic at The University of Melbourne since 2000. A central focus of Prof Fletcher’s work has been the translation of her work to address clinically significant questions and to aid in the development of better treatments for retinal disease.
Prof. Rebecca Ritchie, Monash MIPS, Melbourne.
Professor Ritchie is currently an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow and Head of the Heart Failure Laboratory at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute. A graduate of the Dept of Medicine (Cardiology) at the University of Adelaide under the supervision of Professor John Horowitz, Professor Ritchie’s PhD focused on predictors of myocardial function in vivo in patients with coronary heart disease, including development of the first quantitative model of the force-interval relationship in human myocardium. Her postdoctoral training (with Prof James Marsh in the Program of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology at Wayne State University 1995-1997, USA) and the Florey (with Prof Greg Dusting, 1997-2002) led to her recruitment to the Baker (from late 2002).
Professor Stephen Nicholls is the Director of Monash Heart and Professor of Cardiology at Monash University. He will be the Director of the Victorian Heart Hospital. He completed his cardiology training at John Hunter Hospital and PhD at the University of Adelaide, prior to holding a postdoctoral fellowship and faculty appointment at the Cleveland Clinic. He returned to Australia to serve as the inaugural Deputy Director and Heart Health Theme Leader at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute. His research interests focus on the role of metabolic risk factors and imaging in atherosclerosis, with work spanning from early discovery to leadership of large clinical trials. He is Chair of the (i) Australian Atherosclerosis Society Clinical Council, (ii) Scientific Committee of the Australia and New Zealand Alliance for Cardiovascular Trials, (iii) Asia Pacific Cardiometabolic Consortium and (iv) Future Leader Fellowship committee of the National Heart Foundation, Secretary of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand, Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences and founding board member of the Australian Cardiovascular Alliance.
Prof. Ben Hogan, Peter MacCallum Centre. The Hogan lab investigates the lymphatic vasculature and the blood brain barrier, which play important roles in metastasis. Ben Hogan completed his PhD in developmental biology at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in 2005. Following a year as a Cancer Council Victoria Fellow, he moved to the Hubrecht Institute for Stem Cell and Developmental Biology (Netherlands) to study the vasculature. This work was supported by an EMBO fellowship and an NHMRC CJ Martin Fellowship. During this time, he uncovered the role of Ccbe1 in lymphangiogenesis and was part of a team that characterised CCBE1 mutations in generalized lymphoedema in humans. This work was awarded the Postdoctoral Investigators Award from the NARF of the NHMRC in 2009.
Professor Wally Thomas, University of Queensland. Walter (Wally) Thomas is the Acting Director of the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute, on secondment from his position as the Head of the UQ School of Biomedical Sciences. The Diamantina Institute, based at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane, is made up of over 200 researchers, clinical researchers, students and support staff. Professor Thomas’ current research interests include the human cardiovascular system, and in particular the renin–angiotensin system and structure–function signaling in G protein-coupled receptors with specific interest in the link to growth factor receptors and cellular growth.
Dr Chengxue (Helena) Qin is a Baker Fellow and Group Leader in at Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, with adjunct appointments (Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Science and Univ Melb). A prominent early-mid career scientist. Qin has extensive experience in design and evaluation of novel drugs in relevant preclinical models of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Her translational research continues to develop novel strategies to treat various CVD and diabetic complications. Dr Qin was awarded her PhD in Oct 2010 in the Faculty of Medicine (University of Melbourne). Her unique dual PhD training in CVD pharmacology and medicinal chemistry encompassed design, synthesis and profiling of an array of novel flavonol derivatives for treatment of heart attack (this group of compounds is completing phase-II clinical trial).
Dr Michael De Silva of La Trobe Universtiy, completed his PhD in 2011 in the Department of Pharmacology at Monash University. In 2012, he was awarded an NHMRC CJ Martin Early Career Fellowship to conduct postdoctoral research at the University of Iowa (USA). There he gained expertise in the study of the cerebral microcirculation. In 2015, he returned to Australia and joined the Vascular Biology and Immunopharmacology Group (VBIG) headed by Professor’s Chris Sobey and Grant Drummond. Michael has published a number of papers in prestigious journals including Hypertension, Stroke and The British Journal of Pharmacology. He has also received recognition for his work including awards from the American Heart Association, American Physiological Society and the Australian Foundation for High Blood Pressure Research.
Dr. James Hudson, QIMR, Brisbane, is the Group Leader for the Muscle Tissue Engineering Lab at the School of Biomedical Sciences at The University of Queensland. Dr Hudson completed a double major in Chemical and Biological Engineering in 2006 and subsequently completed his PhD on cardiac tissue engineering at The University of Queensland in 2011. Dr Hudson was then awarded a German Cardiology Society postdoctoral fellowship for training under the guidance of Prof Wolfram-Hubertus Zimmermann in Germany, one of the world’s most prominent cardiac tissue engineering researchers. Dr Hudson returned to Australia in 2013 on a NHMRC ECF and has recently received has recently been awarded an NHMRC CDF and National Heart Foundation Future Leaders Fellowship (2017-2020) for which he won the Paul Korner award for the top ranked national application.