Congratulations to the latest NHMRC Investigator Grant winners

Congratulations to the CSANZ Members who have won NHMRC Investigator Grants (Sept 2021).

Prof Sally Dunwoodie, Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, UNSW.

Grant Title: Towards a Mechanistic Understanding of the Causes of Congenital Heart Disease and Associated Extra-Cardiac Anomalies.


Prof Bob Graham, Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, UNSW.

Grant Title: Building heart muscle to treat cardiomyopathies.


Prof David Kaye,  Baker Heart & Diabetes Institute.

Grant Title: Better care for HFpEF patients through integrated basic, clinical and translational research.


Prof Julie Redfern, University of Sydney

Grant Title: Modernising cardiac rehabilitation and secondary prevention of heart disease.

ANZCDACC Product Defect Correction and Implant Hazard Alert June 2021

ANZCDACC Product Defect Correction and Implant Hazard Alert June 2021

Device: Medtronic Reveal LINQ with TruRhythm Cardiac Monitoring Systems

 TGA Reference: RC-2021-RN-01276-1

Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG): 218791

Advisory grade TGA: Class II

(Class II recall action occurs when the product deficiency could cause illness, injury or result in mistreatment, but are not class I.)

ANZDACC Advisory Grade: Routine

Winners of the Heart Foundation’s Strategic Grants Program 2020

Congratulations to our members who were recently named as winners of the Heart Foundation’s Strategic Grants program for their research: 
  • A/Prof Sarah Zaman – 2020 Women in Heart Disease Grant
  • Prof Diane Fatkin – 2020 Predictive Modelling Strategic Grant
  • Prof Tom Briffa – 2020 Secondary Prevention Strategic Grant

Thank you to the Heart Foundation for providing these stories*

A/Prof Sarah Zaman – University of Sydney

Project title: Prevention of Heart Disease in Women with Non-traditional Risk Factors and High Calcium Scores.

Currently, doctors use risk calculators to decide who is likely to have a heart attack or a stroke. However, these calculators often get it wrong in women – particularly women with female-specific heart disease risk, such as high blood pressure in pregnancy or early menopause and, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. This study will determine if a simple CT-scan, that measures calcium in the heart arteries, can help decide which women benefit from early preventative medications and lifestyle changes. If successful, our study could help prevent a large number of heart attacks and strokes in Australian women.

Prof Diane Fatkin, University of New South Wales

Project title: Is genetics useful for predicting outcomes in patients with atrial fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common heart rhythm abnormality and often leads to heart failure or stroke. Our research will investigate how a person’s genetic makeup might predict the risk of developing AF and its complications. This will generate new knowledge about the causes of AF and how genetic information can be used to improve and personalise therapies for individual patients. Importantly, we will assess patient attitudes to t genetic testing and the value and acceptability of receiving positive (or negative) genetic test results.

Prof Tom Briffa, University of Western Australia

Project title: Assisted self-management to prevent new life-threatening events for all in need after a heart attack.

This study will establish the value of moving to a personalised, focused approach of preventing new attacks compared to routine care after a heart attack. It allows survivors to identify the key aspects to reducing their risk, the approach taken, goals set and maintaining engagement with health professionals in the three months after leaving hospital. The benefits of a personalised approach lay in both the potential for improved management of risk factors for an individual together with greater uptake and completion of the intervention across the entire population at risk. For each additional person completing personalised care it will translate to the reduction of up to 1 death and/or heart attack/stroke per improved risk factor. The study will clarify the optimal method of providing care post heart attack, inform international clinical practice, guidelines, policy and improve the outcome of heart attack survivors everywhere.

*Thank you for the Heart Foundation for providing these stories (See full Grant Recipient stories on the Heart Foundation’s website here: )

CSANZ 2020: R T Hall Lecture

Dr Paul Ridker, Director, Center For Cardiovascular Disease Prevention
Brigham and Women’s Hospital

RT Hall Lecture:  100 years from C-reactive protein to anti-cytokine therapy for atherosclerosis: A history of discovery

(Click above link to view)


Over the past 25 years, Dr. Paul Ridker has been collaboratively responsible for elucidating the critical role of inflammation in the detection, prevention, and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Best known for his pioneering population biology work on inflammatory biomarkers such as high-sensitivity CRP and interleukin-6, the first demonstrations of the anti-inflammatory effects of statins, the guideline changing JUPITER trial in 2008, and ultimately through the CANTOS interleukin-1b inhibition trial in 2017. 

Dr. Ridker’s work has led to a fundamental shift in our understanding of atherosclerosis and to the first proof that targeted anti-cytokine therapies can lower cardiovascular event rates in the absence of lipid lowering. Insights from his group that the magnitude of inflammation inhibition directly relates to the magnitude of clinical benefit has spawned a novel class of cardiovascular therapeutics, led to the clinical recognition that “residual inflammatory risk” is a separate and distinct entity from “residual cholesterol risk”, and opened an entirely novel approach to the treatment of inflammatory lung cancers. 

Spanning the fields of epidemiology, vascular biology, population genetics, public health, preventive medicine, and clinical trials, Dr. Ridker’s career-long focus on inflammatory mechanisms of disease has advanced a controversial concept into a proven clinical intervention. Few clinical investigators have had as much translational influence at the bench, the bedside, and on guidelines for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease.

CSANZ 2020: Kempson Maddox Lecture by Prof Karlheinz Peter

Prof Karlheinz Peter, Deputy Director, Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute

Kempson Maddox Lecture : Prevention and treatment of myocardial infarction – pitfalls of the past, present challenges and future opportunities
(Click above link to view)

Prof Karlheinz Peter is an interventional cardiologist at the Alfred Hospital and a basic scientist and Deputy Director at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute. He is Professor of Medicine and Immunology at Monash University, honorary Professor at La Trobe University, and he holds an NHMRC principal research fellowship. Prof Peter has been working for many years and continues to work as an interventional cardiologist, including previously as the head of the cardiac catheter laboratory at the University of Freiburg, Germany. He did his postdoctoral training at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore and at Scripps Research Foundation, La Jolla, USA. He did most of his clinical training at the University of Heidelberg, Germany.

His research is focused on the cellular mechanisms of coronary artery disease and its consequences, myocardial infarction (MI), encompassing the role of platelets, coagulation and inflammation in atherosclerosis, as well as the mechanisms leading to the rupture of atherosclerotic plaques. Together with Dr Chen he developed a unique mouse model of plaque instability/rupture that closely reflects human plaque instability. He has developed novel biomarker (proteomic and microRNA) approaches and molecular imaging strategies using MRI, ultrasound, CT and PET towards the localisation of thrombi, inflammatory reactions and vulnerable, rupture-prone plaques and the identification of patients at risk of MI. 

One of his primary research interests is the development of new “intelligent” drugs for patients with MI. He has developed human single-chain antibody drugs that demonstrate highly promising properties with high anti-platelet, anticoagulant and fibrinolytic efficacy but reduced side effects, particularly bleeding complications. With his clinical background, his knowledge in pharmacology and his expertise in biotechnological methods, Prof Peter is uniquely placed for translational research. His work is the basis of several patent applications covering diagnostic tests/imaging for the detection of thrombi, vulnerable plaques and inflammatory reactions and site-directed therapy.

CSANZ 2020: Gaston Bauer Lecture

Prof Vlado Perkovic, Dean, UNSW Medicine, University of New South Wales

Gaston Bauer Lecture: Mitigating the excess cardiovascular risk associated with chronic kidney disease

(Click above link to view)


Vlado Perkovic has recently stepped down from the Executive Director role at The George Institute, Australia to take up the role of Dean with the Faculty of Medicine at UNSW Sydney from October 2019. He is Staff Specialist in Nephrology at the Royal North Shore Hospital. Vlado’s research focus is in clinical trials and epidemiology, in particular in preventing the progression of kidney disease and its complications. He leads several international clinical trials, and has been involved in developing Australian and global treatment guidelines. He has played a central role in the development of an affordable dialysis system, which was a Eureka Prize finalist in 2017. Vlado is the President of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institute and is on the Board of the Australian Clinical Trials Alliance. He is Chair of the International Society of Nephrology Advancing Clinical Trials (ISN-ACT) group; and is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, and the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. He serves on the Editorial Boards of a number of leading specialist and general journals, including the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, Circulation, and the New England Journal of Medicine.

CSANZ 2020: Leaders in Paediatric and Congenital Cardiology Lecture

Mrs Kirsten Finucane, Chief Surgeon, Paediatric and Congenital Cardiac Service at Starship Children’s Hospital / Auckland District Health Board

Leaders in Paediatric and Congenital Cardiology Lecture :
A lifetime with a repaired heart – stories of survival and hope for the future.  
Click above link to view

Kirsten Finucane is the Chief Surgeon of the Paediatric and Congenital Cardiac Service at Starship Hospital in Auckland. She trained at Green Lane Hospital under the direction of Mr Alan Kerr, then in Birmingham Children’s Hospital in the UK with Mr Bill Brawn. Kirsten returned to New Zealand in 1996 and her initial project was to develop the paediatric service into a specialised unit, moving from Green Lane to Starship in 2003. 

This unit now performs around 400 bypasses per year including the full range of neonatal surgery, transplants and complex adult congenital cases. Areas of interest include valve repairs for children and teenagers with rheumatic heart disease, cerebral protection in the context of neonatal cardiac surgery, a modified maze technique for adult patients undergoing Fontan Conversion and improving the cardiac surgical service to children in the Pacific Islands.

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