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A change of heart: a novel tool to alter the course of cardiovascular disease

Associate Professor Joshua Lewis, Institution: Edith Cowan University

2019 Future Leader Fellowship

Years funded: 2020-2023


Blood vessel disease, or atherosclerosis, the disease that causes most heart attacks and strokes occurs years before these events. We can now quickly, easily and safely image a stable marker of advanced blood vessel disease (abdominal aortic calcification or AAC) using widely available bone density machines. My research focusses on developing a rapid way of assessing AAC from these images. Additionally, my research program seeks to understand why and how this vascular calcification starts, and progresses.

By understanding the signalling pathways and modifiable factors related to AAC and its progression I hope to identify new strategies and therapeutic targets to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease. Finally, we will conduct the clinical trials needed to develop evidence of how to effectively use knowledge of AAC to alter the course of cardiovascular disease progression. This work forms the basis for a highly feasible four-year plan that targets the next solid steps, capitalising on the unique, required expertise I have sought out and brought together towards a holistic, future-centric view of primary prevention for clinical cardiovascular disease.

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