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Targeting the gut microbes to treat cardiovascular disease

Associate Professor Francine Marques, Institution: Monash University

2021 Future Leader Fellowship (Honorary Fellowship) 

Years funded: 2022-2025

Associate Professor Francine Marques's research has identified gut microbes as new players that can protect against heart disease. Diets high in fibre are linked with lower blood pressure and lower rates of heart disease. Until recently, however, it was not understood why or how. Evidence from Associate Professor Francine Marques's research has discovered that this phenomenon involves our gut microbes. While our bodies are incapable of digesting some types of fibre, they feed the community of ‘good’ microbes. This results in the release of substances that are shown can lower blood pressure and improve heart function. Associate Professor Francine Marques will leverage this knowledge to discover, develop and translate new ways to prevent and treat heart disease. 

Associate Professor Francine Marques will be leading a program of animal and clinical studies. This will result in innovative ways to treat heart disease and its risk factors. Associate Professor Francine Marques will pinpoint the specific mechanisms involved in how gut microbes protect against heart disease. Importantly, Associate Professor Francine Marques will develop and test new medications, and translate findings into clinical trials.

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