Cardiovascular and Respiratory Sciences

Understanding the major causes and prevention of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in Australia but the causes of developing CVD are complex. As well as diet and lifestyle factors, susceptibility to CVD is known to have a significant genetic component, however this is not yet well understood.

Respiratory issues affect more than one in four Australians and 14 per cent of all deaths in Australia are caused by a lung disease-related illness.

The Cardiovascular and Respiratory Sciences team runs various research programs aimed at understanding the basic mechanism of disease processes and how to provide better treatment or preventative strategies.

One in six Australians will be affected by cardiovascular disease

More than 10% of health issues in Australia relate to lung issues

hospital Created with Sketch.

One in seven people in Australia die of a lung disease-related illness

Current projects

There are a number of current projects in the areas of cardiovascular and respiratory science.
Nutritional biochemistry and cardiovascular disease

The nutritional biochemistry and cardiovascular disease project seeks to investigate the role of food bioactives, such as polyphenols, on vascular function and cardiovascular risk factors. It hopes to make sense of the role of the gut microbiome on polyphenol metabolism and potential synergistic activity of various food components.

Industry partner

Department of Agriculture and Food

PhD opportunities

The multidisciplinary research team is interested in prospective students from various backgrounds such as chemistry/biochemistry, nutrition, medicine and physiology who wish to undertake research in this area.

Contact us

Contact Professor Kevin Croft for more information:

[email protected]

+61 8 9224 0275

Gut bacteria, gut flora, microbiome. Bacteria inside the small intestine, concept, representation.
Therapeutic approaches to treat obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease

Using cellular, small animal and human studies, our team, in collaboration with scientists and clinicians, aims to understand the mechanisms underlying major metabolic disorders including obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Current areas of research within this project look at the utilisation of therapies including SGLT2 inhibitors, metalloproteinase inhibition and dietary interventions.

Contact us

Contact Dr Vance Matthews for more information:

[email protected]

+61 8 9224 0239

Cardiovascular disease and the Busselton Family Heart Study

The flagship Busselton Family Heart Study aims to identify rare genetic variant risk factors for CVD by studying data from large, densely affected families in combination with large-scale genetic sequencing.

Find out more
Medical students inspect human heart model
Epithelial-Mesenchymal cell communication; towards new therapeutic targets for fibrosis

Fibrosis causes disability and death to millions of people affected by this respiratory disease each year. At present, many treatments are limited and an improved understanding of the factors that drive fibrosis is needed to improve treatment. This project looks at how cells communicate to initiate and drive fibrosis, while drug testing new ways to alter cell communication to stop the disease. The aim of the project is to develop a new method of treating fibrosis patients that is more effective than past treatments.

Contact us

Contact Associate Professor Cecilia Prele for more information:

[email protected]

+61 8 6151 0958

Digital chest radiograph of severe pulmonary fibrosis
Fibroblast senescence as a driver of pulmonary fibrosis

There is currently no cure for Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).Researchers in this project believe IPF develops because the normal mechanisms in the myofibroblasts (the cells that produce the connective tissue) don’t work, and this causes too much connective tissue, which leads to the oxygen stopping from getting into the blood. The team has identified a protein it believes could cause the mechanism in the myofibroblasts to work as normal, which could potentially cure pulmonary fibrosis.

Contact us

Contact Associate Professor Cecilia Prele for more information:

[email protected]

+61 8 6151 0958

Paediatric asthma

Asthma is one of the most common reasons children need emergency medical treatment in Western Australia. Our research program involves studying young children during the peak of their asthma attack. Studying children at this time with a follow-up on recovery is the best way to discover the underlying causes of asthma. Most attacks are due to viruses and we use the latest and most powerful biological technologies to discover how viruses cause serious wheeze. These technologies include assessing viruses, genetic susceptibility, immune system responses, metabolic responses, changes in the microbiome and the effect of treatment on each of these.

PhD Opportunities

Honours and PhD projects are available in each area of our research and we would be pleased to discuss tailoring a project to a student’s area of interest.

Contact us

Contact Associate Professor Ingrid Laing for more information:

[email protected]

+61 8 9489 7787

Child using Salbutamol inhaler

Our courses


Contact Professor Kevin Croft