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Centenary Institute - Medical Research
Centenary Institute - Medical Research

$3m to strengthen Centenary Institute research

World-class study into inherited heart disease as well as Alzheimer’s disease have been boosted after two Centenary Institute researchers successfully secured a total of $3m in highly competitive National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funding.

Associate Professor Jodie Ingles, Head of the Institute’s Clinical Cardiac Genetics Group in the Molecular Cardiology Program (pictured left), was awarded a Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies Grant in excess of $2m. This will fund a five-year study into inherited cardiomyopathies involving approximately 2,500 participants. The cohort of participants will be comprehensively investigated and followed over time, making this an extremely unique and important resource for better understanding these diseases.

“Inherited cardiomyopathies such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy affect the heart muscle and are passed on genetically in families. There can be important health implications, including a risk of heart failure and sudden cardiac death,” says A/Prof Ingles.

“There are many aspects of how we manage and treat inherited cardiomyopathies that are not well understood. Our study will follow participants over time to gain critical clinical and genetic insights. In doing so, we can then provide tailored advice regarding management, treatments, prognosis and family screening regarding the disease,” she says.

Professor Jenny Gamble, Head of the Vascular Biology Program at the Centenary Institute was awarded an Ideas Grant of just under $1m. The grant will fund research into Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. Supported by secondary Chief Investigator Doctor Ka Ka Ting also from the Centenary Institute, the research program will focus on the blood vessels of the brain and their potential role in Alzheimer’s development and progression.

“Alzheimer’s disease is an age-related neurodegenerative disease that is on the rise due to our ageing population. Although we don’t know yet what causes the disease it is thought that changes to the blood vessels in the brain are the earliest sign of Alzheimer’s and actually predispose the patient to the development of the disease,” says Professor Gamble.

“This grant will support our work on investigating the cells that form the barrier between the blood and the tissues, endothelial cells. We have identified significant age-related changes in these cells.  We want to determine if the breakdown and dysfunction of these cells with age actually leads to, or makes Alzheimer’s Disease more likely. If this is the case, our work will open the door to an entirely new approach to combatting the disease,” she says.

In addition to the two Grants, the Centenary Institute’s Laura Yeates received a NHMRC Postgraduate Scholarship for her study into ‘Caring for families affected by sudden cardiac death of a young relative due to genetic heart disease.’ Centenary’s Natalia Pinello also received a NHMRC Postgraduate Scholarship for her study into ‘RNA 5-hydroxymethylation in Haemopoiesis and Leukaemia.’

Read the full media release here.

SMH article – featuring A/Prof Jodie Ingles

Associate Professor Jodie Ingles leads our Clinical Cardiac Genetics Laboratory. She was interviewed for a cardiovascular focused health feature in the Sydney Morning Herald.

A/Prof Ingles wants to better understand unexplained cardiac arrest in young people – to help solve the mystery of why people such as Esther (featured in the article) suffer from heart problems at such a young age.

Read the Sydney Morning Herald feature here to find out more about Esther and the devastating impacts of heart disease.

And find out more about Jodie here.

Sydney Innovation and Research Symposium

Associate Professor Jodie Ingles, Head of Centenary Institute’s Clinical Cardiac Genetics Laboratory, in the Molecular Cardiology Program has made good use of her public speaking skills, presenting a talk on the impacts and consequences of cardiac genetic testing, as well as participating in the ‘Great Debate’ at today’s annual Sydney Innovation and Research Symposium.

Debating the topic, “Clinical systems and processes are more important than experience,” Jodie, a part of a team of three, successfully argued against the motion.

“My argument was that in 15 plus years of working with families with inherited heart diseases, that systems and processes have not existed, and so if we are to do the best we can for these families we need to carve our own path. We’ve done this always based on our significant experience in seeing so many families, and we use these experiences to help inform development of guidelines,” said Jodie.

The annual Symposium is Sydney Local Health District’s hallmark event to foster collaboration and innovation bringing together staff, clinicians, research and business partners, and industry experts to share ideas to help achieve excellence in health and healthcare for all.