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Dr Maria Jelinic, 2023 Vanguard Grant

Understanding the cellular and molecular drivers of heart attacks

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Understanding the cellular and molecular drivers of heart attacks

Dr Maria Jelinic, La Trobe University

2023 Vanguard Grant - One Year

Years funded: 2024 - 2024

Heart attacks are a major cause of global death and disability. They occur when the coronary arteries – which supply blood to the heart –- become blocked by fatty deposits called atherosclerotic plaques. This starves the heart of oxygen and nutrients causing heart muscle death. Atherosclerotic plaques form over decades. Early detection and therapies that slow or halt their development could prevent blockages. Unfortunately, our understanding of atherosclerosis is limited, with no known biomarkers for early detection. Thus, for many patients, the first sign is a devastating heart attack. As the only team in Australia with established spatial multiomics pipelines and access to precious coronary artery samples from healthy donors and coronary atherosclerosis patients, we have a unique opportunity to explore human atherosclerosis biology more comprehensively than ever before. This will yield novel insights about the inter- and intra-cellular pathways that drive coronary artery atherosclerosis and identify new biomarkers and therapeutic targets.

Last updated12 March 2024