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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.

Key research areas

  • High-risk atherosclerotic plaque, identification and treatment
  • Arterial inflammation
  • Arterial redox biology

Atherosclerosis is a leading cause of heart attack, stroke and death worldwide.

It occurs when there is a build-up to fatty deposits and inflammatory cells in the wall of your arteries, which carry oxygen to your heart and other tissues. There are two types of atherosclerotic lesions, stable and unstable. Stable plaque builds up over years and causes arteries to become hardened, eventually restricting blood flow to the heart and other organs, which can be readily detected and treated with appropriate intervention. Unstable plaque is vulnerable to ‘rupture’ before it substantially restricts blood flow. These plaques are difficult to detect/identify yet can be fatal when they rupture and cause acute thrombosis and occlusion of the artery.

Professor Roland Stocker and his team are trying to understand what changes in the arteries, how they become diseased and how atherosclerosis can be prevented. More specifically, they examine the contribution of arterial inflammation and oxidative processes to the formation of unstable plaque, and how we can use this information to detect high-risk plaque and interfere with the formation and rupture of these plaques.

Collaborators

Professor René Botnar, King’s College, London

Prof Catherine Clarke, University of California

Prof Tony Kettle, University of Otago

Dr Alkystis Phinikaridou, King’s College, London

Dr Imran Rashid, University Hospitals Cleveland

Prof Paul Witting, University of Sydney

Selected publications

The team

Dr Anita Ayer

Senior Postdoctoral Scientist

Dr Stephanie Kong

Senior Research Assistant

Dr James Nadel

PhD Student

Dr Cacang Suarna

Senior Research Assistant

Taqi Shaik

Honours Student