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New drug targets for the treatment of cardiovascular disease

Dr Nicola Smith, Institution: University of New South Wales

2016 Future Leader Fellowship

Years funded: 2017-2022


Cardiovascular disease is the biggest killer of Australians every year. My laboratory is interested in finding new therapeutic targets for the alleviation of cardiovascular disease so that we can design potent new drug treatments. Our efforts are focused on understanding a subset of proteins from a family that is the most successfully targeted by currently available therapies. Yet despite this success, only 25% of this family has been paired with its hormone partner and the remainder have unknown function in the body. My team is using computational and experimental approaches to identify drugs that act at these proteins so that we can unlock their role in the cardiovascular system. We will specifically focus on three candidates that have been implicated in heart development, blood pressure control and heart growth. By combining our computational and experimental tools with animal models of cardiovascular disease, we will identify proteins that can be targeted therapeutically for the treatment of this deadly disease.

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