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Our objective

Our mission is to understand the contribution of specific oxidative processes to the formation of unstable atherosclerotic plaque. We aim to understand the mechanisms and factors that distinguish formation of unstable versus stable plaque, and how this knowledge can be used to selectively identify and treat unstable plaque.

Our impact

Atherosclerosis is the main underlying cause of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke. It is very common – people over the age of 40 have an approximately 50 per cent chance of developing serious atherosclerosis, with this risk increasing with age.

There are two types of atherosclerotic plaques: stable and unstable. Stable plaques can be identified and treated readily. In contrast, there is currently no reliable and non-invasive method to identify unstable plaque, yet the rupture of such plaques is thought to cause 30-50 per cent of all fatal heart attacks. Understanding the mechanism of formation of unstable plaque could pave the way for the development of new methods to identify and eventually treat high-risk unstable plaque, thereby saving lives and providing a better health outcome for the millions around the world who have atherosclerosis.


Professor Rene Botnar, King’s College, London

Professor David Celermajer, HRI Clinical Research Group

Prof Catherine Clarke, University of California

Prof Ian Dawes, University of New South Wales

Professor Philip Eaton, Queen Mary University London

Dr Mary Kavurma, HRI Vascular Complications Group

Prof Tony Kettle, University of Otago

Dr Ashish Misra, HRI Atherosclerosis and Vascular Remodelling Group

Assoc Prof Sanjay Patel, HRI Coronary Diseases Group

Dr Imran Rashid, University Hospitals Cleveland

Professor Christine Winterbourn, University of Otago

Selected publications

The team

Dr Anita Ayer

Senior Research Officer

Dr Stephanie Kong

Senior Research Assistant

Dr Cacang Suarna

Research Assistant

Dr James Nadel

PhD Student