Funds to help UQ get to the heart of cardiovascular disease

8 May 2015

University of Queensland scientist Dr Ben Hogan has been awarded $455,000 to work towards new treatments for cardiovascular diseases that affect one in six Australians and cost the national economy about $5.9 billion to treat each year. 

The National Health and Medical Research Council and National Heart Foundation of Australia Career Development Fellowship will support Dr Hogan’s research into how the vascular system forms.

Dr Hogan, from UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience, said he was honoured to receive the fellowship.

“My research investigates the body’s vascular or circulatory system, which is made up of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels that transport blood, oxygen and other essential nutrients to our organs and around our bodies,” he said.

“When these vessels don’t form properly or are damaged, it can reduce blood and oxygen flow and cause major health problems.

“We hope to identify and understand which genes and cells in our bodies control how our veins and lymphatic vessels form, as these genes and cells can potentially be targeted for future treatments to help grow and repair vessels damaged by cardiovascular disease.

“Thanks to this generous funding, we can continue our research over the next four years to unravel this fascinating biological process, which will give us a solid foundation of new knowledge to better understand cardiovascular diseases. 

“This new knowledge could also give us insights into possible future treatments for congenital disorders, ischaemia, lymphoedema, and cancer metastasis.”

Heart Foundation Queensland CEO, Mr Stephen Vines, said the Heart Foundation was proud to be investing in Australia’s best and brightest cardiovascular researchers.

“We are supporting researchers like Dr Hogan and his biomedical research program because we can see it has the potential to have a great impact on the community,” Mr Vines said.

“Since 1959, we have invested more than $520 million (in today’s value) towards cardiovascular research. 

“This figure is made even more impressive when you consider the return on investment for cardiovascular research is around $8 for every dollar invested.

“Dr Hogan’s research aims to develop important new knowledge in cardiac and vascular biology that will make a significant contribution to improve outcomes for Australians living with cardiovascular disease and related disorders,” he said.

National Heart Week runs from 3-9 May 2015.

The Heart Foundation is a not-for-profit health organisation working to reduce premature death and suffering from cardiovascular disease, the single biggest killer of Australians. 

The Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) is a research institute of The University of Queensland that aims to improve quality of life by advancing medical genomics, drug discovery and biotechnology. 

Media: IMB Communications Manager Gemma Ward, 07 3346 2134, 0439 651 107,