Celebrating 30 Years of Discovery

Awards and Achievements
In March, the Heart Research Institute (HRI) celebrated 30 years since it opened its doors.

The original vision for the creation of the HRI was to establish a medical research institute dedicated to the detection, prevention and treatment of heart disease.

On 17 March 1989, HRI was created as a financially autonomous medical research institute, to exist in the supportive environments of The University of Sydney and The Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. The Institute was spearheaded by cardiologists at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital led by David Richmond. The Institute’s model would allow scientists to be inspired by the challenges encountered at the patient’s bedside, while also giving them access to the multidisciplinary capabilities of a major university.

In the subsequent years, HRI has made numerous discoveries that have contributed to an improved understanding of cardiovascular disease. HRI has also been a breeding ground for top scientific talent, with HRI alumni now holding positions of influence throughout the scientific and medical fields.

“HRI continues to attract top talent and takes very seriously its role in training and developing emerging scientists.” – Professor Leonard Kritharides, Chairman, HRI

Today, at state-of-the-art Eliza Street, Newtown facilities and the Charles Perkins Centre in Camperdown, HRI features over 180 personnel who are dedicated to finding solutions to the world’s number one killer: cardiovascular disease.

While over the last 30 years there has been substantial progress in improving the life expectancy and treatment outcomes of people impacted by cardiovascular disease, the job is far from complete. There are now more obese people than underweight people in the world, and cardiovascular diseases are still the leading cause of death.

Today, HRI’s work and mission is more important than ever.

“The alarming reality is that in 2019, we are in the midst of a chronic and growing cardiovascular disease epidemic. That’s why we need medical research now more than ever.” – Professor Shaun Jackson, Director of Cardiovascular Research, HRI 

Some of our breakthroughs

  • 2017 Discovered a molecule that can predict who is most at risk of developing diabetes, 12 years in advance
  • 2013 Uncovered the link between diabetes and CVD, a world-first and a discovery with the potential to save lives
  • 2005 Demonstrated that low-birth weight babies have thicker aortic walls, possibly predisposing them to greater risk of CVD later in life
  • 2003 Investigated the role high-density lipoproteins ‘LDL’ (good cholesterol) plays in the protection against atherosclerosis
  • 1999 Explored whether natural antioxidants such as vitamins E and C can actually prevent atherosclerosis, helping to elucidate the role of these vitamins
  • 1998 Discovered that both protein and fat oxidation can have a major effect on heart disease and enter previously uncharted territory as we try to understand how protein oxidation can actually be prevented
  • 1995 Proved the link between passive smoking and heart disease, research that became pivotal in the global move to ban smoking in public places
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