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Heart Foundation delivers $17.2 million for cutting-edge heart research in a challenging year
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Heart Foundation delivers $17.2 million for cutting-edge heart research in a challenging year

Media Release 20 October 2020

Research into genetic heart abnormalities, innovative stem cell therapies to regenerate blood vessels and new approaches to treat heart failure are among the projects to receive funding in this latest round.

The Heart Foundation today announced funding for 53 projects worth $13.1 million to investigate the causes, treatment and prevention of heart disease, stroke and related disorders.

This is in addition to $4.1 million the Heart Foundation allocated earlier this year to boost funding for research into new ways to prevent heart disease and improve the care and treatment of Australians living with heart conditions.
Dr Emma Gordon at the University of Queensland received a Paul Korner Innovation Award on top of her Future Leader Fellowship to study the precise molecular signals that are activated when blood vessels become diseased and stiff and will test if these signals can be stopped.   

Dr Jatin Patel at Queensland University of Technology also received a Paul Korner Innovation Award to progress his research into using stem cell therapies to regenerate blood vessels.

Other successful applicants will investigate new anti-inflammatory drugs to prevent heart attacks and strokes, therapies to stabilise deadly aortic aneurysms, the link between stroke, abnormal heart rhythms and dementia and strategies to improve the cardiovascular health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Heart Foundation CEO, Adjunct Professor John Kelly, said $17.2 million was a significant investment when COVID-19 had created so much uncertainty for charities this year.

“We could have been forced to cut back our research program but this hasn’t been the case, thanks to the generosity of our donors who have supported us in this challenging year. This is an increase on last year’s total of $15.3 million, which is remarkable.

“As the biggest non-government funder of heart-related research in Australia, this is a priority for us. In the last 60 years we have invested $670 million, in today’s dollars, and we are proud to build on our legacy this year.
“Research is at the heart of what we do. Despite significant improvements in prevention and treatment over the past few decades, coronary heart disease remains Australia’s single biggest killer, claiming more than 17,500 lives each year.

“Major risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, physical inactivity and obesity are continuing to increase in Australia. At the same time, we have an ageing population and serious chronic conditions such as diabetes, which contribute to heart disease, are on the rise.”

The Heart Foundation, which received 504 applications for this funding round, will fund 10 Future Leader Fellowships that will allow cardiovascular researchers to build their research capacity and become leaders of research groups, 10 Postdoctoral Fellowships to support early-career cardiovascular researchers, 24 Vanguard grants to test the feasibility of innovative ideas, seven scholarships for health professionals to undertake a PhD and two Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander awards.

Awards for innovation and excellence

The Heart Foundation is pleased to announce five awards for the year’s most outstanding and innovative applications: 

The Heart Foundation Paul Korner Innovation Award is given to the most innovative successful Future Leader Fellowship and Postdoctoral Fellowship applications each year.

Future Leader Fellowships

  • Dr Emma Gordon University of Queensland
  • Dr Jatin Patel Queensland University of Technology

Postdoctoral Fellowships

  • Dr Dean Picone University of Tasmania
  • Dr Rona Macniven University of NSW

The Ross Hohnen Award for Research Excellence recognises each year’s most outstanding and innovative Vanguard Grant application

  • Associate Professor Dion Stub Monash University
The full list of awards is available at: https://heartfoundation.org.au/research/research-award-recipients-2020 

Media enquiries

Suzanne McKenzie Senior Media Adviser
M: 0434 691 461 E: suzanne.mckenzie@heartfoundation.org.au


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