New ways of identifying and preventing atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease

Atherosclerosis is a disease of the blood vessels in which fatty deposits (plaques) build up over time and block the flow of oxygen-carrying blood to the tissues. When this happens in the blood vessels of the heart, it causes the heart tissue to die and can lead to a heart attack. This accounts for 1 in 3 deaths in Australia.

Our team are working with a number of different technologies that are seeking to improve the detection of atherosclerosis and to identify new targets that regulate its development. This talk will discuss our testing of ‘porphysome’ nanoparticles that have excellent imaging properties and therapeutic effects. We are also working with a fluorescent sensor of nitric oxide, a marker of atherosclerosis, using it to identify the disease. Finally, in collaboration with A/Prof Daniel Kolarich, Prof Nicki Packer and Dr Arun Everest-Dass, we are investigating the role of a glycoprotein receptor in atherosclerosis and plan to determine the glycome and glycoproteome of atherosclerotic plaques.


A/Prof Christina Bursill (BSc (Hons 1) PhD, Adelaide University; Postdoc, Oxford University, UK) is a leader in cardiovascular biology, with a national and emerging international profile for her expertise in the biology and mechanisms of atherosclerotic plaques and mechanisms of diabetes-impaired angiogenesis and wound healing. She is Co-director of the Vascular Research Centre at South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) and currently holds the National Heart Foundation of Australia Lin Huddleston fellowship. A/Prof Bursill is a Chief Investigator on the ARC, Centre of Nanoscale Biophotonics (CNBP) where she leads the “Inside blood vessels theme”, is on the board of the Australian Cardiovascular Alliance and past-President of the Australian Atherosclerosis Society. She has received >$2 million in competitive research funding in the last 3 years. A/Prof Bursill has published 85 manuscripts (Circulation, Cell Metabolism, JCI), supervised >15 PhD students to completion and currently leads a research team of eight people. A/Prof Bursill conducted a five-year postdoctoral post at Oxford University that focussed on determining the role of chemokines in atherosclerosis using viral gene therapy technologies to over-express novel chemokine inhibitors. She then returned to Australia where she investigated new vasculo-protective effects of high-density lipoproteins as part of her National Heart Foundation Career Development Fellowship. More recently through her role in the CNBP her work has tested novel nanoparticles and sensors for the detection and tracking of atherosclerotic plaque development and wound healing in murine models. She is also uncovering the importance of glycans in atherosclerosis.

* IPAS morning tea is hold from 10.30-11.00 PM followed by IPAS seminars. All seminar attendants are welcome to attend the IPAS morning tea.


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