A young Kiwi scientist committed to finding solutions to NZ’s number one killer

Meet the team
A number of talented New Zealand scientists work at the HRI headquarters in Sydney. Tim McMahon speaks to Cassidy Moeke about his role at the HRI. 

Cardiovascular disease and its precursors are a major health problem affecting millions of New Zealanders. Unfortunately Kiwis of either Maori or islander descent are even more vulnerable.  

Wellington-born Cassidy Moeke is a young Maori scientist who’s committed to finding solutions to NZ’s number one killer. And for him, it’s personal. 

“Cardiovascular disease is a disease that affects everyone; every race, gender, sex or nationality - it is a global phenomenon and we all have a responsibility to contribute towards fighting this disease.”

“It is important we don't lose this fight, and one way of making sure that doesn't happen is if we fight it together.”

“It is important we don't lose this fight, and one way of making sure that doesn't happen is if we fight it together.”

Cassidy is connected with Ngāti Porou and Ngāti Awa, he studied biomedical science at the Victoria University of Wellington and then completed a Masters degree with the Centre for Biodiscovery at Victoria University. Today, he is pursuing a PhD in the Free Radical Group at the Heart Research Institute.

Cassidy’s Masters degree at Victoria University was a proteomics project (the large-scale study of proteins) that focused on identifying proteins in a species with an unsequenced genome. Cassidy explains his project: “Let’s say you want to investigate how a toxin affects all the proteins in a particular tissue. If you make some interesting observations the next step is usually to find out which proteins are being affected. But this identification process can be very difficult if the species you are using is not well studied”.

Cassidy says that the broad impact of his potential PhD project is what attracted him to taking up his research at the Heart Research Institute. 

“On a broader scale, I’m investigating the links between inflammation and atherosclerosis. Not only does this give me the opportunity to carry out research into an area of great importance to human health, but it also allows me to add to my already existing set of skills”.

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