Cardiovascular Research

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Australia accounting for 30% of all deaths with an estimated 22% of Australian experiencing cardiovascular disease at some point in their life.  (Source - Australian Institute of Health and Welfare).

The cardiovascular group at HMRI researches the causes, treatments and management of cardiovascular diseases and cardiovascular health amongst Australians of all ages to improve the health outcomes of the single largest cause of disease burden in our Country. 

Cardiovascular disease is a term that encompasses heart disease and conditions of the blood vessels. Led by three diverse and talented researchers, Professor Dirk Van Helden, Professor Andrew Boyle and Professor Ron Plotnikoff, researchers in the HMRI cardiovascular research group are successfully researching various aspects of cardiovascular health and managing numerous clinical trials and community interventions.

In conjunction with the University of Newcastle’s Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition and the Hunter New England Local Health District, researchers in the HMRI cardiovascular research group study a range of research focuses aimed at improving cardiovascular health. From the structure of the heart, the effect of the diet and exercise on the risk for cardiovascular disease, through to clinical interventions and stem cell therapy for damaged heart muscle, the HMRI cardiovascular group is uniquely positioned to improve health outcomes for community by combining basic laboratory researchers with clinical cardiologists and nutritionists alike.

Within the HMRI cardiovascular program, Hunter researchers are working to understand a number of aspects of cardiovascular health including:

Research Program :
  • Cardiovascular
Research Topics :
Clinical Cardiovascular
Professor Ron Plotnikoff - Cardiovascular Researcher
Research Program :
  • Cardiovascular
Research Topics :
Preventing Cardiovascular Disease
Research Program :
  • Cardiovascular
Research Topics :
Heart Physiology
Research Program :
  • Cardiovascular
Research Topics :
Preventing Cardiovascular Disease
Research Program :
  • Cardiovascular
Research Topics :
Healthy Lifestyles, Neuroscience
Research Program :
  • Cardiovascular
Research Topics :
Preventing Cardiovascular Disease

2016

Fibulin-3 and Cardiac Fibrosis
Project Grant
Researchers:
Description:

Heart failure is one of the most costly health problems worldwide. A hallmark of heart failure is cardiac fibrosis, an abnormal and persistent accumulation of scar tissue (mainly the extracellular matrix protein, collagen) that significantly impairs heart function.

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Dads And Daughters Exercising and Empowered (DADEE)
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Philip MorganA/Prof David Lubans, Ms Alyce Cook, Mrs Narelle Eather

Description:

Engaging dads and daughters to increase physical activity and social and emotional well-being in pre-adolescent girls: The DADEE (Dads And Daughters Exercising and Empowered) program

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2015

eHealth research project measuring the impact of web-based feedback on dietary intake in improving eating patterns and health
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Clare Collins, Dr Megan Rollo, Dr Tracy Burrows and Dr Melinda Hutchesson
 

Description:

$10K to support our eHealth research project measuring the impact of web-based feedback on dietary intake in improving eating patterns and health.

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Nutrition’s role in chronic pain management
Scholarship
Researchers:
Description:

$10K for a PhD top-up  for Katherine Brain who is doing her PhD on Nutrition and Pain and has just converted to full time after securing a basis scholarship (CIs are myself, Dr Megan Rollo and Dr Tracy Burrows)
 

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Award for Mid Career Research - Phil Morgan
HMRI Award for Mid Career Research
Greaves Family Early Career Support Grants
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Myles Young, Professor Philip Morgan

Description:

The Greaves Family Early Career Support grant will enure Myles Young can extend his research with the SHED-IT weight loss program to  achieve his goal of becoming an independent and internationally reputable early career researcher in the Hunter Region.

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The effects of dopamine and droperidol on the cardiorespiratory responses to severe hypoxaemia
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Anthony Quail, Associate Professor David Cottee
 

Description:

Dopamine and droperidol are drugs used in modern anaesthetic practice. Both drugs are known to modulate carotid body function via an action on dopamine type-2 receptors. 

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Improving the accuracy of lower limb vascular assessment in people with diabetes
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Vivienne Chuter, Ms Peta Craike
 

Description:

Diabetes is associated with significant risk of disease of both the large and small blood vessels.

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Knockout model for heart fibrosis
Project Grant
Researchers:
Description:

We have identified a novel protein in the aging heart, fibulin3. 

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The feasibility and preliminary efficiacy of referral to exercise physiologists, psychologists, and supplementary physical behaviour change strategics for school teachers 'at risk' for Type 2 Diabetes, with pre diabetes or with Type 2 Diabetes: a pilot st
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Ronald Plotnikoff, Wendy Brown, Kerry Courneya, Ronald Sigal, Erica James, David Lubans, Kristen Cohen
 

Description:

People who are 'at risk' of type 2 diabetes, or have pre diabetes, or have type 2 diabetes comprise a significant proportion of the Australian population and this health issue in increasing at a very significant rate.

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IMCAS World Congress 2016 - 18th Edition - January 28th to 31th, Paris
Travel Grant
Researchers:

Ms Kristine Pezdirc

Description:

Funding to  IMCAS is devoted to education in the field of cosmetic dermatology, cosmetic surgery and cosmeceuticals.

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Jennie Thomas Medical Research Travel Grant
Travel Grant
Researchers:

Mr Myles Young, Professor Philip Morgan

Description:

If successful, this grant would allow me to travel to Edinburgh to deliver an oral presentation of my PhD research in men’s weight loss at the International Society for Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA) Conference.

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Emlyn and Jennie Thomas Medical Research Postgraduate Scholarship
Scholarship
Researchers:

Ms Lisa Spencer, Professor Clare Collins, Dr Megan Rollo, Dr Melinda Hutchesson

Description:

The aim of my PhD is to investigate effective and innovative approaches to managing weight during pregnancy and following childbirth.

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Fibulin-3 and Cardiac Fibrosis
Project Grant
Researchers:
The DADEE (Dads And Daughters Exercising and Empowered) program
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Philip MorganAssociate Professor David Lubans, Ms Alyce Cook, Mrs Narelle Eather

Description:

Engaging dads and daughters to increase physical activity and social and emotional well-being in pre-adolescent girls. 

more
Double-blind Placebo Controlled Trial on Direct Endomyocardial Injection of Autologous bone Marrow Cells for Enhancement of Neovascularization in Patients with Ischaemic Heart Failure
Project Grant
Researchers:
Description:

Coronary artery disease (CAD) remains one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity worldwide.

more
The Effects of Midazolam on Respiratory and Cardiovascular Control Mechanisms During Severe Arterial Hypoxia
Project Grant
Researchers:

Associate Professor Anthony Quail, Associate Professor David Cottee

Description:

Many commonly used anaesthetic drugs alter respiratory and cardiovascular control mechanisms, interfering with the life-preserving homeostatic reflexes.

more

2014

Helping pregnant women achieve a healthy lifestyle and good outcome for themselves and their baby in terms of health and well-being
Scholarship
Researchers:

Professor Clare Collins, Dr Megan Rollo, Dr Melinda Hutchesson 

Description:

This project will translate a successful pilot intervention for weight management in pregnancy and post-partum undertaken at the John Hunter Hospital antenatal clinics, the ‘Bouncing Back to a Pre-Baby Body’ (BBB) program, into an online program.

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To investigate the role of the suPAR/Beta 3 Integrin Pathway of Podocyte Injury in the Pathogenesis of Diabetic Nephropathy
Project Grant
Researchers:

Conjoint Associate Professor Alastair Gillies, Zaw Thet 

Description:

40% of all type 2 diabetics will develop diabetic nephropathy (DN), which is the leading cause of end stage kidney failure in Australia and around the world.

more
Fibulin-3 and Cardiac Fibrosis
Project Grant
Can young men (aged 18-25 years) change their lifestyle? A novel way to improve health.
Scholarship
Researchers:

Mr Lee Ashton, Professor Clare Collins

Description:

Despite young men having a high prevalence of health risk behaviours, they generally do not participate in health promotion programs and there are limited programs specifically designed to cater for the needs and preferences of this group.

more
The impact of high intensity interval training on physical and psycho-social outcomes in low-active adolescents: A randomised controlled trial
Project Grant
Researchers:

Associate Professor David Lubans, Ron Plotnikoff, Dennis Taaffe, Narelle Eather, Sarah Costigan 

Description:

Considerable evidence exists supporting the health benefits of youth engaging in regular physical activity yet physical inactivity in adolescence remains widespread.

more
Saturated fats may promote cardiovascular health
Project Grant
Development of a novel model of cardiac scar tissue
Project Grant
Researchers:
Description:

Following a heart attack, a large proportion of the heart muscle is replaced by scar tissue. This results in a weaker heart and the clinical syndrome of heart failure. There is currently no treatment for scar tissue in the heart.

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The HEY MAN pilot study: using eHealth to Enhance Your Mental health, Physical Activity and Nutrition in young men.
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Clare Collins, Frances Kay-Lambkin, Melinda Hutchesson, Philip Morgan, Megan Rollo, Robin Callister, Geoff Skinner 

Description:

Consistent evidence confirms that excessive stress can adversely affect physical and mental health.

more
The DADEE (Dads And Daughters Exercising and Empowered) program
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Philip Morgan, Associate Professor David Lubans, Ms Alyce Cook, Mrs Narelle Eather 

Description:

Engaging dads and daughters to increase physical activity and social and emotional well-being in pre-adolescent girls

more
Jennie Thomas Medical Research Travel Grant - Food Addiction Study
Travel Grant
Researchers:

Ms Kirrilly Pursey 

Description:

The term ‘food addiction’ (FA) has been popularised and commonly used to describe an abnormal pattern of excessive consumption (1-3). 

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Investigation of factors affecting the success of family based dietary interventions for parents experiencing CVD events
Scholarship
Researchers:
Description:

Children whose parents suffer a heart attack or stroke prematurely are at a particularly high risk, inheriting a predisposition to heart disease as well as their parent’s eating habits and lifestyle behaviours.

more
Development and evaluation of an eHealth weight loss intervention for young overweight women
Scholarship
Researchers:

Kristine Pezdirc, Professor Clare Collins and Dr Melinda Neve

Description:

Young women are vulnerable to weight gain, which places them at risk of weight related co-morbidities, such as depression, infertility and Type 2 Diabetes. 

more
The Supporting Children's Outcomes using Rewards, Exercise and Skills (SCORES) study
Project Grant
Description:

One third of Australian children are not sufficiently active of good health and this is particularly true of children from disadvantaged schools.

more

2013

The effects of sevoflurane on the cardiorespiratory responses to severe hypoxaemia
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Anthony Quail 

Description:

"When animals and humans experience low levels of oxygen, there are several reflex responses that occur called cardiorespiratory responses, which help to reduce the effect of low oxygen (hypoxia) on the body.

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Using focus groups to understand young adult males motivators and barriers to participating in a Healthy Lifestyle Program
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Clare Collins, Melinda Hutchinson, Megan Rollo, Philip Morgan 

Back to Basics
Project Grant
Researchers:
Post-prandial effects of almond lipids on cardiovascular disease risk (Cardiovascular Program Bridge Funding)
Fellowship
Researchers:

Dr Brendan Plunkett, Manohar Garg, Peter Howe 

Effects of two different diets on inflammatory and oxidative stress biomarker responses to exercise in overweight men and women
Project Grant
Description:

Comparing the body’s response to diet and exercise in overweight men and women

more
Long-term follow up of the PULSE Type 2 Diabetes prevention program for men
Project Grant
Description:

Type 2 Diabetes is the fastest growing chronic disease in Australia.

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The Effectiveness of Feasible Physical Activity Population-based Approaches for Inactive Adults with Type 2 Diabetes: A Pilot Study Assessing Tailored and Preference Modes of Delivery.
Project Grant
Description:

Finding the right approach to help patients with type 2 Diabetes become active

more
Validation of a Food Frequency Questionnaire to detect changes in diet-related cardiovascular disease risk
Project Grant
Description:

Diet and Cardiovascular disease risk

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The DADEE (Dads And Daughters Enjoying Exercise) study
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Philip Morgan, David Lubans, Narelle Eather, Alyce Cook 

Description:

Engaging fathers to improve physical activity levels and social-emotional well-being in their daughters

more
Evaluation of a multi-component intervention to reduce screen-time in adolescents: The ‘Stand Up for Healthy Minds’ study
Project Grant
Researchers:

Associate Professor David Lubans, Ron Plotnikoff, Philip Morgan, Chris Lonsdale, Amanda Baker, Geoff Skinner, Narelle Eather 

Description:

Children’s screen-time is high. The time that young people spend sedentary, especially the time they spend alone watching television and using computers, is a major public health issue.

more
Translation of the Healthy Dads Healthy Kids program in local communities: Transitioning for sustainability
Project Grant
Description:

Transition of HDHK program from researcher-run model to a community-run model over 12 months.

more
Investigating the basis for diabetes-associated gastric motility disorders
Project Grant
Description:

Digestive disorders remain a major health burden.

more
Investigation of factors affecting the success of family based dietary interventions for parents experiencing CVD events
Scholarship
Researchers:
Description:

Children whose parents suffer a heart attack or stroke prematurely are at a particularly high risk, inheriting a predisposition to heart disease as well as their parent’s eating habits and lifestyle behaviours.
 

more
Development and evaluation of an eHealth weight loss intervention for young overweight women
Scholarship
Researchers:

Kristine Pezdirc,Professor Clare Collins, Dr Melinda Neve 

Description:

Young women are vulnerable to weight gain, which places them at risk of weight related co-morbidities, such as depression, infertility and Type 2 Diabetes. 

more
The Supporting Children's Outcomes using Rewards, Exercise and Skills (SCORES) study
Project Grant
Description:

One third of Australian children are not sufficiently active of good health and this is particularly true of children from disadvantaged schools.

more
The Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids community program: Promoting family health through sustainable school and community partnerships
Project Grant
Description:

In 2008-09, a rigorous, randomised controlled trial of the Healthy Dad, Healthy Kids (HDHK) program was conducted at the University of Newcastle.

more
Double-blind Placebo Controlled Trial on Direct Endomyocardial Injection of Autologous bone Marrow Cells for Enhancement of Neovascularization in Patients with Ischaemic Heart Failure
Project Grant
Researchers:
Description:

Coronary artery disease (CAD) remains one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity worldwide. 

more
The Effects of Midazolam on Respiratory and Cardiovascular Control Mechanisms During Severe Arterial Hypoxia
Project Grant
Researchers:

Associate Professor Anthony Quail, Associate Professor David Cottee 

Description:

Many commonly used anaesthetic drugs alter respiratory and cardiovascular control mechanisms, interfering with the life-preserving homeostatic reflexes. 

more

2012

HMRI Early Career Travel Award 2012
Project Grant
Researchers:
Barker PhD Scholarship
Scholarship
Researchers:

Mr Myles Young

Barker PhD Scholarship
Scholarship
Researchers:

Ms Jenna Hollis

The effects of sevoflurane on the cardiorespiratory responses to severe hypoxaemia in the rabbit
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Anthony Quail
 

Evaluation of a workplace-based weight-loss program for men: The POWER (Preventing Obesity Without Eating like a Rabbit) trial at Tomago
Project Grant
The Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids community program: Promoting family health through sustainable school and community partnerships
Project Grant
The Supporting Children's Outcomes using Rewards, Exercise and Skills (SCORES) study
Project Grant
Reducing mid-aged men’s risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Project Grant
Investigation of factors affecting the success of family based dietary interventions for parents experiencing CVD events
Scholarship
Researchers:
Development and evaluation of an eHealth weight loss intervention for young overweight women
Scholarship
Researchers:

 Kristine Pezdirc, Professor Clare Collins and Dr Melinda Neve

The Effects of Midazolam on Respiratory and Cardiovascular Control Mechanisms During Severe Arterial Hypoxia in the Rabbit
Project Grant
Researchers:

Associate Professor Anthony Quail, Associate Professor David Cottee

2011

First Aid for Cytotoxic Snakebite
Project Grant
Engaging men to maintain weight loss using innovative and cost-effective interventions: The SHED-IT weight loss maintenance pilot study
Project Grant
PULSE Education Prize
Project Grant
Researchers:
Feasibility and efficacy of a diet and exercise prevention program for men at high risk of Type 2 Diabetes - Lions District 2013 N3 Diabetes Foundation Diabetes Project Grant
Project Grant
Feasibility of targeting parents with heart disease to improve the heart health of their children
Project Grant
The Supporting Children's Outcomes using Rewards, Exercise and Skills (SCORES) study
Project Grant
Double-blind Placebo Controlled Trial on Direct Endomyocardial Injection of Autologous bone Marrow Cells for Enhancement of Neovascularization in Patients with Ischaemic Heart Failure
Project Grant
Researchers:
Evaluation of a workplace-based weight-loss program for men: The POWER (Preventing Obesity Without Eating like a Rabbit) trial at Tomago
Project Grant
Dietary fructose restriction improves plasma lipids, satiety hormones and inflammation in obesity
Project Grant
Researchers:
The Effects of Midazolam on Respiratory and Cardiovascular Control Mechanisms During Severe Arterial Hypoxia in the Rabbit
Project Grant
Researchers:

Associate Professor Anthony Quail, Associate Professor David Cottee

2010

How chronic psychological distress leads to premature aging
Project Grant
Researchers:

Associate Professor Eugene Nalivaiko, Lisa Lincz

How do high protein and/or high fat meals affect postprandial glycaemic control in children and adolescents using intensive insulin therapy?
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Clare Collins, Carmel Smart, Bruce King, Patrick McElduff 

Evaluation of a workplace-based weight-loss program for men: The POWER (Preventing Obesity Without Eating like a Rabbit) trial at Tomago
Project Grant
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind: An exercise intervention for the treatment of youth depression
Project Grant
Healthy Dads Healthy Kids for Indigenous populations
Project Grant
Researchers:
Double-blind Placebo Controlled Trial on Direct Endomyocardial Injection of Autologous bone Marrow Cells for Enhancement of Neovascularization in Patients with Ischaemic Heart Failure
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Suku Thambar 

The Effects of Midazolam on Respiratory and Cardiovascular Control Mechanisms During Severe Arterial Hypoxia
Project Grant
Researchers:

Associate Professor Anthony Quail, Associate Professor David Cottee 

2009

Award for Early Career Research - Phil Morgan
HMRI Award for Early Career Research
The Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids community program: Promoting family health through sustainable school and community partnerships
Project Grant
Researchers:
PULSE Education Prize - Tracy Burrows
Project Grant
Researchers:
Evaluation of a workplace-based weight-loss program for men: The POWER (Preventing Obesity Without Eating like a Rabbit) trial at Tomago
Project Grant
Validation of energy intake and expenditure in young children using Food Frequency Questionnaires, doubly-labelled water and accelerometers
Project Grant
Researchers:
Development of the SHED-IT weight loss programs for men
Project Grant
Does the HIKCUPS weight management program for overweight children work in the parents' workplace or in after school care settings - PhD topup scholarship
Scholarship
The Contribution of Nutrition to Achieving Healthy Pregnancy outcomes for mothers and babies - PhD Scholarship Yr 1/ PhD topup Y2 and Yr 3
Scholarship
Researchers:

Associate Professor Clare Collins, Michelle Blumfield
 

Evaluation of the Hunter Healthy Business Program
Project Grant
Promotion of physical activity and healthy eating amoung low-SES adolescent boys
Project Grant
The Effects of Midazolam on Respiratory and Cardiovascular Control Mechanisms During Severe Arterial Hypoxia
Project Grant
Researchers:

Associate Professor Anthony Quail,  Associate Professor David Cottee

2008

The "Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids" Project" Feasibility and Benefits of a Father-Focused Child Obesity Prevention Intervention.
Project Grant
Researchers:
The effects of iron status on calcium handling systems in heart and brain
Project Grant
Evaluation of the benefits of a school garden
Project Grant

2006

Mechanisms of action of 2-3 fatty acids in control of aterial arrhythmias
Project Grant
Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation for sustainable weight loss
Project Grant
Validating tools to assess children's' food intake to develop healthy eating programs
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Clare Collins, Dr J Warren
 

2005

Heart Lung Guild - General Donation
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Peter Fletcher
 

Finometer (contribution)
Equipment Grant
Researchers:

Dr Peter Fletcher
 

Tyrosine Repletion Therapy for Anorexia Nervosa
Project Grant
Researchers:

Prof Kenneth Nunn, Mel Hart, Lauren Williams
 

2004

Heart Lung Guild
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Peter Fletcher
 

Award for Research Excellence - Dirk van Helden
HMRI Award for Research Excellence

2003

Unplanned Hospital Readmission
Project Grant
Researchers:

Associate Professor Jon Silberberg, Ben Ewald

Research into Cardiac Surgery and Value Replacement
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr David Cottee, Associate Professor Saxon White, Dr Tony Quail

Diet, Nutrition and lifestyle factors in the development and treatment of overweight and obesity in children
Project Grant
Researchers:
Intra Myocardial Injection of autologous Bone Marrow cells in patients with end stage ischaemic heart disease
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Suku Thambar, Dr Gregory Bellamy

High Versus Low Dos nutrition to reduce malnutrition prevalence and length of stay in fractured neck of femur patients
Project Grant
Mechanisms of Action of Omega 3 Fatty Acids in reduction of Hypertension
Project Grant

2002

Acting on overweight and obesity in Hunter children
Project Grant
The role of nutrition in improving outcomes for people with fractures
Project Grant
How omega 3 fatty acids reduce blood pressure
Project Grant
Award for Early Career Research - Geoff Isbister
HMRI Award for Early Career Research

2001

Non-contact cardiac mapping study.
Equipment Grant
Researchers:

Professor Peter Fletcher, Dr James Leitch

2000

Nutritional status of children undergoing chemotherapy; a cross sectional review
Project Grant