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Dr Tessa Barrett is currently Research Assistant Professor at New York University School of Medicine and will be bringing her expertise in macrophage and platelet biology, and mechanisms of atherogenesis to the Heart Research Institute in July 2021.

Dr Barrett will lead a new group at HRI in two projects. One will examine the macrophage-platelet axis in atherosclerosis and the mechanisms by which diabetes exacerbates cardiovascular disease severity and risk. The other, in collaboration with cardiologists at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH), will investigate how the platelet transcriptome is altered by diabetes to gain insight into the processes that contribute to increased cardiovascular risk in people with diabetes.

Dr Barrett completed her PhD in cardiovascular research in 2013 at HRI and has held postdoctoral positions in the USA since. Bringing Dr Barrett back to Sydney is a significant addition to the cardiovascular research community in NSW.

HRI’s Director of Cardiovascular Research Professor Shaun Jackson says, We are excited that Dr Barrett is joining HRI. She has a unique passion and determination for cardiovascular research and is a truly talented early-mid career scientist and a strong emerging leader in her field.”

Dr Barrett’s state-of-the-art research techniques and relevant collaborations will complement existing research activities at HRI, with expertise in platelet transcriptomics, macrophage biology and atherogenesis, relevant to the ongoing research interests of the Thrombosis, Vascular Complications and Atherosclerosis and Vascular Remodelling Groups.

Her appointment is funded by a prestigious NSW Cardiovascular Elite Postdoctoral Researcher Grant from NSW Health and HRI’s Robert Edward Gough Fellowship.

Recruiting Dr Barrett will contribute to improving cardiovascular health outcomes for so many, a significant step in making NSW the leading state for excellence in cardiovascular disease research nationwide,” adds Professor Jackson.

After a PhD in novel in vitro mechanisms affecting protein oxidation and function, Dr Barrett moved to New York to work with Professor Edward Fisher, a top expert in the field of macrophage biology and mechanisms of atherosclerosis development and regression. During her four-year postdoctoral training, she developed expertise in murine models of atherosclerosis and gained new insights into macrophage activation and migration. Primarily, Dr Barrett investigated how diabetes influences inflammation, and myelopoiesis during the development of cardiovascular disease and therapies to reduce cardiovascular burden. Importantly, this team identified mechanisms that influence plaque regression.

Dr Barrett then joined the translational clinical lab of Associate Professor Jeffrey Berger to undertake human clinical cardiovascular research, particularly in aspects of thrombosis, and identified a new mechanism whereby platelets promote atherogenesis. She has now developed expertise in platelet transcriptomics, genetics and translational clinical studies.

Dr Barrett has published 27 papers in high-impact biomedical journals and has presented her work at many prestigious cardiovascular conferences globally.

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