I am
Q&A with Dr Shiang Lim
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Q&A with Dr Shiang Lim

A new nanodrug to protect the heart from damage after heart attack

Dr Shiang (Max) Lim is Head of the Cardiac Regeneration Group at St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research. 

After completing his PhD from the University of Strathclyde (UK) in 2005, Dr Lim spent 4 years completing his postdoctoral research at The Hatter Cardiovascular Institute (University College London, UK). This research focused on targeting heart cell ‘machinery’ to protect the heart against damage following a heart attack.

In 2020, Dr Shiang Lim received a Heart Foundation Vanguard Grant. His project will build on his previous research and will investigate a new treatment to protect the heart from damage after a heart attack.  

What are you currently researching?

Cardiovascular disease continues to be a leading cause of death worldwide. Effective new treatments that protect the heart from injury following a heart attack are urgently needed.

One of the processes that leads to heart damage from a heart attack is a change in the shape of the ‘powerhouse’ of heart cells; the mitochondrion. Mitochondria can either fuse together or divide, and the balance between fusion and division is important for healthy cell function. My research has found that the balance is shifted toward division in heart cells when they become injured.

A specific protein called Drp1 is needed for mitochondria to divide. Blocking Drp1 stops this division, which can protect the heart from damage after a heart attack. My project aims to explore the protective effect of a new medicine that targets Drp1. By stopping the changes in mitochondria, we hope our studies will provide a new treatment to reduce heart damage and improve outcomes in people after a heart attack.   

What difference will your research make to people’s cardiovascular health in Australia?

My research combines cutting edge stem cell strategies with tissue engineering (a technique to grow new heart tissue) and medicines. Through my research, we hope to find new and effective treatments with minimal side effects. We want to reduce deaths from cardiovascular disease, reduce hospital readmissions and improve peoples’ quality of life.  

Are there any discoveries from the past year from your research you can share with us?

I have previously identified a new population of stem cells in human hearts. These stem cells have a ‘secretome’; which refers to all the proteins released (or secreted) from the cells. Using an animal model of cardiovascular disease, I have recently shown that the stem cell secretome can help the heart repair after a heart attack. We are very excited about the potential of this work, as a possible new way to treat heart damage.

What role has Heart Foundation funding had in your career journey?

Funding from the Heart Foundation gives me a chance to make an impact on the lives of people with cardiovascular disease. Through my Heart Foundation Vanguard Grant, my team can test our innovative ideas to develop the next new life-saving treatment.

Do you have a message for Heart Foundation supporters?

Thanks to funding from a Heart Foundation Vanguard Grant, our team can move forward with testing our new medicine which could prevent heart damage caused by a heart attack. With your support, these innovative ideas can become reality, and we can improve the lives of people who have had a heart attack.  

You might also be interested in

The Heart Foundation Alumni Program

The Heart Foundation Alumni Program

The Heart Foundation Alumni Program

Stay connected with your research alumni community. ...

Research Directory

Research Directory

GLOBAL CARDIOVASCULAR RESEARCH FUNDERS FORUM

GLOBAL CARDIOVASCULAR RESEARCH FUNDERS FORUM

GLOBAL CARDIOVASCULAR RESEARCH FUNDERS FORUM

FACILITATING INTERNATIONAL CLINICAL TRIALS ...

2020 Strategic Grant Recipients

2020 Strategic Grant Recipients

Heart Foundation Research Award Recipients

Heart Foundation Research Award Recipients

Explore our research award recipients and projects...

Research funding programs

Research funding programs

Research funding programs

Understand the application process and requirements of our various funding programs....

2022 Collaboration and Exchange Award

2022 Collaboration and Exchange Award

Our research stories

Our research stories

Our research stories

We fund amazing researchers who have important stories to tell...

Managing your funding

Managing your funding

Managing your funding

Resources to help manage your grant, scholarship or fellowship....

2022 Future Leader Fellowship

2022 Future Leader Fellowship

Future Leader Fellows are emerging leaders – the best and brightest in cardiovascular research....

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Heart Age Calculator

Heart Age Calculator

Heart Age Calculator

Could you be at risk of heart disease? Get your estimated heart age now....

Environment, climate change and heart health

Environment, climate change and heart health

Environment, climate change and heart health

Information on how air pollution, heatwaves and bushfires can impact heart health, and what you can do to look after yourself. ...

Nutrition after a heart attack

Nutrition after a heart attack

Nutrition after a heart attack

Discover key information on heart-healthy eating and drinking....

Salad recipes

Salad recipes

Salad recipes

Search through our tasty salad recipes...

Chicken fajitas

Chicken fajitas

Chicken fajitas

20 minutes
Serves 4

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk assessment and management

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk assessment and management

Absolute CVD risk assessment is an integrated approach that estimates the cumulative risk of multiple risk factors to predict a heart attack or stroke event in the next five years....

Seafood recipes

Seafood recipes

Seafood recipes

Find heart healthy seafood recipes...

Heart Foundation Tick

Heart Foundation Tick

Heart Foundation Tick

The Tick Program has made a substantial contribution to the health of Australians over the past 26 years....

What is angina?

What is angina?

What is angina?

Angina is a type of chest pain or discomfort that’s a symptom of an underlying heart problem, usually coronary heart disease (CHD)....

Create your fundraiser at Do it for Heart

Create your fundraiser at Do it for Heart

Create your fundraiser at Do it for Heart

Become a Heart Foundation fundraiser, do it for heart and make a real difference to your community....

What is heart valve disease?

What is heart valve disease?

What is heart valve disease?

Heart valve disease means that your heart valve or valves don't open or close properly....

WEBINAR | Heart Health Checks: the critical role of the practice nurse

WEBINAR | Heart Health Checks: the critical role of the practice nurse

WEBINAR | Heart Health Checks: the critical role of the practice nurse

This webinar discusses the role of practice nurses in conducting heart health checks...

Supporting Young Hearts Podcast

Supporting Young Hearts Podcast

Supporting Young Hearts Podcast

Supporting Young Hearts is a six-episode series interviewing young people with lived experience of heart conditions and talking through advice for supporting emotional health and well-being....

Our history

Our history

Our history

For more than 60 years the Heart Foundation has been helping improve heart health across the nation....

Spinach and ricotta rice flan

Spinach and ricotta rice flan

Spinach and ricotta rice flan

50 minutes
Serves 4

The NSW Cardiac Rehabilitation Working Group

The NSW Cardiac Rehabilitation Working Group

2022 Collaboration and Exchange Award

2022 Collaboration and Exchange Award

Baking recipes

Baking recipes

Baking recipes

Find heart healthy baking recipes ...

Heart Foundation Walking

Heart Foundation Walking

Heart Foundation Walking

Learn more about Heart Foundation Walking and find your local walking group....

Thai chicken lettuce cups

Thai chicken lettuce cups

Thai chicken lettuce cups

10 minutes
Serves 2

For professionals: Heart failure tools and resources

For professionals: Heart failure tools and resources

Resources for healthcare professionals on the management of patients with heart failure ...

Absolute CVD risk clinical guidelines

Absolute CVD risk clinical guidelines

The Absolute Cardiovascular Disease Risk (CVD) Guidelines helps healthcare professionals identify, prevent and manage a person's risk of developing CVD. ...

Easy chicken nasi goreng

Easy chicken nasi goreng

Easy chicken nasi goreng

10 minutes
Serves 2

Easy chicken nasi goreng

Easy chicken nasi goreng

Easy chicken nasi goreng

10 minutes
Serves 4

What is a healthy body weight?

What is a healthy body weight?

What is a healthy body weight?

Find out what a healthy body weight is and the steps you can take to achieve it. ...

Donate Monthly | Become a Regular Donor

Donate Monthly | Become a Regular Donor

Donate Monthly | Become a Regular Donor

Join the fight against heart disease....

Improving heart health for all Australians

Improving heart health for all Australians

Improving heart health for all Australians

Guidelines for the assessment and management of Absolute Cardiovascular Disease Risk ...

Getting active at school

Getting active at school

Getting active at school

Physical activity resources for school staff....

Clinical guidelines and position statements

Clinical guidelines and position statements

Clinical guidelines and position statements

We have developed a range of resources for you to use as part of routine care. ...