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A new way to regulate blood and liver fats

Associate Professor Anna Calkin, Institution: Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute

2021 Vanguard Grant  

Years funded: 2022-2022 

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) presents a significant burden to Australians, second only to cancer. In addition to cholesterol and triglycerides, there are hundreds of other fats that are measured in blood and organs. It is now understood that many of these fats such as ceramides, can contribute to the development of CVD.

Associate Professor Anna Calkin's team have previously generated and published a discovery framework that can be used to identify genes that regulate different types of fats. Using this platform, the team have identified a gene that is linked to cholesterol levels in the liver. Preliminary studies suggest that it may also regulate levels of other pathological fats such as ceramides.

In this project, Associate Professor Calkin's team propose proof-of-concept studies that will define the role of this gene in the regulation of cholesterol levels as well other fats including ceramides, and determine whether lowering levels of this gene could have therapeutic benefit.

The proposed outcome is the identification of a potential new regulator of numerous blood fats which would have implications for the development of CVD.

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