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Cellular-resolution imaging catheter to reliably identify individuals at high-risk of heart attacks

Dr Li Jiawen, Institution: University of Adelaide

2021 Future Leader Fellowship  

Years funded: 2022-2025

More than 20 million people worldwide experience acute coronary syndrome (e.g., heart attack). It often occurs when a blood vessel supplying the heart is suddenly blocked due to high-risk plaques. Despite recent advances in cardiology, the accurate diagnosis of high-risk plaques before they become life-threatening remains a significant challenge. This is mainly because cardiologists do not have adequate tools that would provide them with cellular-level insights into plaque formation to understand and monitor disease progression. 

Building on a series of Dr Jiawen Li's recent breakthroughs, which centre around the fabrication of 3D micro-printed imaging catheters with outstanding image quality, Dr Li will develop the world’s first cellular-resolution intravascular imaging catheter. It will provide in vivo histology-scale images of a plaque. Dr Li will use this tool to enable reliable detection of high-risk plaques in patients, and will incorporate it into standard clinical procedures, to help clinicians optimise therapeutic decision-making for each patient.

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