Group Leader: Nazha Hamdani PhD
Our research area
Heart failure, when the heart fails to pump blood properly around the body, hospitalises more people in the Western world than any other condition. Our group aims to unravel the biological mechanisms underlying the stiffening of heart tissue that can lead to heart failure. We are using the knowledge gained from our recent discoveries to investigate novel treatment options for the condition. Our work employs a more refined approach than has ever been trialled before, based on an understanding of the variable factors involved in each case of heart failure.
Our recent discoveries involve oxidative stress and inflammation as a paradigm to the development of heart disease. The co-morbidities present with the condition raise levels of pro-inflammatory proteins in the blood and drive inflammation of cardiac vasculature. This disrupts signalling between the endothelial cells that line the small blood vessels within the heart muscle, cardiomyocytes and fibroblasts. Changes to any of these properties can be altered in heart disease and contribute to the diastolic stiffness characteristic of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). The aim of our proposed research is to deepen our basic understanding of heart failure and in particular HFpEF pathophysiology associated with comorbidities, age and sex differences, in order to provide firm foundations for clinical innovation. Our research team together with our national and international collaborators focus on working towards developing these specialised therapeutic approaches.