Cardiovascular disease research

Investigating new ways to beat heart disease and stroke

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What is cardiovascular disease?

Cardiovascular disease, also known as heart disease, is not just one disease, but rather a group of disorders that affect the heart and blood vessels. 

It is the leading cause of death both globally and in Australia. Worldwide, one-third of all deaths are from cardiovascular disease, with most of these deaths due to heart attack and stroke. In Australia, one person dies every 12 minutes from cardiovascular disease. 

Cardiovascular diseases include: 
  • coronary heart disease, which can lead to narrowing or blocking of the blood vessels that supply the heart 
  • cerebrovascular disease, which affects the blood vessels that supply the brain 
  • rheumatic heart disease, which is caused by a bacterial infection that leads to rheumatic fever 
  • congenital heart disease, which occurs when the heart doesn’t develop properly

Tackling cardiovascular disease

At the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, we are tackling the problem of cardiovascular disease from different angles. 

We are: 

  • developing new drugs from the venom of an Australian spider to treat heart attack and stroke 
  • investigating how our DNA affects our risk of developing heart disease 
  • studying how blood vessels develop and function to understand their role in a range of diseases 
  • developing an mRNA vaccine against Strep A, which causes rheumatic heart disease 

See our Research Groups

How to reduce your risk

  • Eat 5+ vegetables every day

  • Be active 5+ days per week (total of 2.5 hrs)


  • Maintain a healthy weight

  • Avoid smoking tobacco

  • Monitor stress and find ways to reduce it


  • Get regular heart checks


Spider venom heart drug a step closer

A spider venom molecule being investigated by Associate Professor Nathan Palpant and Professor Glenn King has met critical benchmarks towards becoming a treatment for heart attack and stroke.

Read more




Support our research

Join our mission to beat heart disease

One of the most effective ways to make a difference and leave a lasting legacy is to donate to our research. You can make a donation to our research fund or a particular researcher and their lab. 100% of all donations go direct to the cause and are tax-deductible.

For more information please reach out to our Head of Advancement at IMB, Wendy Mansell on or +61 7 3346 2222.

Donate to research


Get involved

Participate in the South Asian Genes and Health in Australia Study (SAGHA)

Heart disease is the leading cause of death world-wide and if you are South Asian, your risk of heart disease is twice as high as that of the average Australian. Researchers do not know why this is but our genes may hold some clues. The South Asian Genes and Health in Australia Study (SAGHA) aims to fill a gap in research involving South Asians and seeks to understand what prevents South Asian Australians from taking part in research studies.

Participate in the study


A deep dive into the often lifelong journeys and struggles of people with infection, pain and other chronic illnesses. Personal and inspiring stories fueling IMB’s pursuit of cutting-edge research.

On New Year’s Day in 2019, whilst on holiday in Malaysia, Tony Vollmerhause decided to take a photo which would change his life forever. After developing life-threatening blood clots, a torn patella tendon ended up being the least of his concerns. A few years down the track and on the road to recovery, Tony has some sage advice for all of us. 


Heart disease is the leading cause of death yet despite decades of research we still don't have new therapeutics. Associate Professor Nathan Palpant may have the next breakthrough.

After her mother suffered a stroke, Pauline’s thirst for knowledge led her to IMB and its ground-breaking research.

Joseph Donataccio is on the Philanthropy and Engagement board at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience and talks about his experience as a stroke survivor.

Latest cardiovascular news

Research Groups

We have research groups from across every Centre at IMB tackling the problem of heart disease. From learning how our blood vessels develop, to the genetics that underlie our risk of heart disease, to developing new vaccines and drugs, each Group advances our understanding of cardiovascular disease and how we can predict, prevent and treat the world's biggest killer.

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