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Mitochondria and cardiovascular pathology

Dr Helena Viola, Institution: University of Western Australia

2017 Future Leader Fellowship

Years funded: 2018-2022


Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy affects 1:200 of the general population. It is the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in the young. However, no treatment exists that can prevent or reverse the disease.

Dr Helena Viola’s vision is to develop a translatable, early-intervention therapy for the prevention of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and associated morbidity and mortality.

Dr Viola will lead a program that utilises specialist technologies in conjunction with key collaborations to identify the mechanisms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and a novel early-intervention approach to prevent disease progression.

This will involve innovative use of hydrogel technology to develop an in vitro model of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and powerful techniques for assessing mitochondrial function Dr Viola has established over the past decade.

Dr Viola’s unique skillset encompassing biochemistry, electrophysiology, animal (in vitro through to in vivo) and human tissue studies facilitates her leadership of a multidisciplinary and translatable program of research.

Dr Viola’s research will:
  1. create knowledge by significantly advancing our understanding of mitochondrial function during both normal cardiac function and the development of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy,
  2. identify a unique, preventative approach for the treatment of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and sudden cardiac death, and
  3. has therapeutic potential to significantly reduce morbidity and mortality of the costliest disease group in Australia

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