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Manipulation of the ageing endothelium

University of Sydney

  • Cardiovascular Senior Scientist Grant
Organ System:
  • Cardiovascular
Date Funded:
  • 31 May, 2019
Chief Investigator/s:
  • Professor Jennifer Gamble

Project summary

Developing new therapeutics directed towards the age-damaged endothelium.


What is the issue for NSW?

Age is the greatest risk factor for disease, particularly heart disease, diabetes and dementia. One in three deaths in Australia are from cardiovascular disease. With the ageing population, and the obesity epidemic, it is imperative that new strategies are developed that can be used to limit the morbidity of age.

These cardiovascular diseases show early changes in the blood vessels and in particular in the structure and function of a highly specialised cell type called endothelial cells. Endothelial cells line the blood vessels and act as a selective barrier between the blood and the tissues. Changes in the endothelial cells result in the loss of the protective barrier function resulting in leaky blood vessels and in a chronic inflammatory state. Such changes have been shown to contribute to the initiation and progression of age-associated disease.

What does the research aim to do and how?

Our ultimate goal is to develop new therapeutics directed towards the age-damaged endothelium, in order to alleviate the scourge of age-associated diseases. To this end, we are defining the molecular changes in endothelial cells as they undergo cellular ageing. Using sophisticated biological analysis and state-of-the-art computer-generated learning technologies in collaboration with national and international experts, we will determine new targets in the ‘aged endothelial cells’ that may be amenable to manipulation. This will be the initial step in development of new drugs that specifically target, for removal, the ‘aged’ endothelium.

Our research findings will be presented in international peer reviewed journals to give maximum exposure to the international scientific field. The scientists involved in the program will also attend relevant national and international meetings where poster or oral presentations of the work will be expected. The Centenary Institute has an active publicity group and any major discoveries will be advertised to the public through this forum. In addition, through symposia organised by Gamble, the work will be disseminated to focussed NSW and Australian researchers.