Fixing the ailing heart

Developing therapies to improve heart function in animal models of cardiomyopathy

Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death. The problem with the failing heart is an inability to maintain energy supply from the mitochondria. This project targets a calcium channel to develop therapy to improve heart function in animal models of cardiomyopathy.

Cardiomyopathy is pathology of the heart muscle that ultimately leads to heart failure and death. While in the majority of cases the primary cause is ischemic due to coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy can also result from mutations in sarcomeric proteins or cytoskeletal proteins. The pathophysiology is associated with alterations in calcium homeostasis, cytoskeletal disruption and mitochondrial dysfunction but the mechanisms for the altered metabolic activity are not well understood.

We are characterising the mechanisms for altered mitochondrial function in the intact myocyte and design therapy to prevent or reverse the cardiomyopathy. Successful reversal of mitochondrial dysfunction will significantly reduce morbidity and mortality by preventing heart failure.


For more background information, see the suggested readings below.

Research team leader: Professor Livia Hool

I completed my PhD at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney prior to undertaking two years’ postdoctoral research as an American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. In 1998 I was awarded a Peter Doherty Fellowship from NHMRC and relocated to UWA where I established the Cardiovascular Electrophysiology Laboratory in Physiology.

How to apply

Interested in becoming part of this project? Complete the following steps to submit your expression of interest:

Step 1 - Check criteria

General UWA PhD entrance requirements can be found on the Future Students website.

Requirements specific to this project include:

  • Undergraduate degree with a major in physiology or biochemistry is desirable but a passion for undertaking medical research is enough.

Step 2 - Submit enquiry to research team leader

Send your enquiry to the research team leader and we will be in touch soon.

Step 3 - Lodge application

After you have discussed your project with the research team leader you should be in a position to proceed to the next step of the UWA application process: Lodge an application. Different procedures apply to domestic and international students.


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