Dr Monique Francois, Photo by Aristo Risi

Medical scientists awarded $1.2 million for heart disease research

Medical scientists awarded $1.2 million for heart disease research

NSW Health’s Cardiovascular Research Capacity Program aims to improve outcomes for patients

University of Wollongong researchers have been awarded $1.2 million in funding under a New South Wales Government cardiovascular disease research grants scheme.

NSW Health’s Cardiovascular Research Capacity Program funds high quality cardiovascular research in NSW in order to drive scientific discoveries, support the development of novel and innovative therapies, and improve health outcomes for patients with cardiovascular disease.

It also provides support for clinical trials and to leverage existing research already underway across institutes, hospital and universities.

In total, NSW Health announced more than $20 million in grants for research being undertaken across a range of settings including preventive health, gene therapy, clinical services and emergency medicine.

Distinguished Professor David Adams, CEO and Executive Director of the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI), was awarded a Cardiovascular Senior Researcher Grant.

Dr Monique Francois (pictured above) from UOW’s School of Medicine and IHMRI received an Early-Mid Career Researcher Grant.

Professor Adams’ grant is for $750,000 over three years for his project “Role of the intrinsic cardiac nervous system in myocardial ischaemia (decreased blood flow and oxygen to the heart muscle) and arrhythmias”.

The grant will allow him to train the next generation of cardiovascular researchers in the field of studying the heart’s intrinsic nervous system.

Professor Adams has been a member of the NSW Government’s Advisory Committee for cardiovascular research since 2018. He said this success highlights the strength of cardiovascular research in the Illawarra.

“It is important to recognise that competitive cardiovascular research is going on not only in Sydney but also regional NSW.”

IHMRI Executive Director Professor David Adams

Distinguished Professor David Adams.

Dr Francois was awarded $450,000 over three years for her project “Lifestyle treatment of cardiovascular disease in patients with type 2 diabetes”, which will investigate whether lifestyle therapies, such as physical activity and diet, can reduce high glucose levels after meals.

“We will look at patients with Type 2 Diabetes, and determine their effectiveness to lower postprandial hyperglycaemia and improve vascular function,” she said.

Dr Francois will use the funding to hire a clinical trials coordinator, to aid collaboration with researchers, clinicians, dietitians, and accredited exercise physiologists across Australia.