About the Cardiovascular Inflammation and Redox Biology laboratory
The research undertaken in the Cardiovascular Inflammation and Redox Biology laboratory focuses on improving the lives of people with diabetes by reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease, renal injury or diabetic eye disease. The research, by identifying novel therapies aimed at lowering oxidative stress, is yielding new areas for drug discovery. These preclinical studies are important initial steps in understanding how to better tackle the complications that arise as a consequence of this fast-growing health issue, given the growing obesity epidemic and its link to type 2 diabetes.
A key focus of the laboratory has been on the pathogenesis of oxidant stress as it relates to diabetic macrovascular complications, such as diabetes-associated atherosclerosis (DAA) and diabetes-linked endothelial dysfunction. Additionally, the laboratory has focused on diabetic microvascular injury with particular emphasis on the role that oxidants play in diabetic retinopathy.
The laboratory has concentrated on understanding the importance of antioxidant defence and has used novel antioxidant mimetics, as well as activators of the oxidant stress regulator Nrf2, to bolster endogenous antioxidant responses to lessen diabetic complications. A further focus has been on gaining insight into how Nrf2 affects the NLRP3 inflammasome, singularly the most important processing platform of pro-inflammatory cytokines known to mediate 'sterile' inflammatory diseases like cardiovascular disease.
A further interest of the lab has been a focus on understanding the mechanisms underpinning vascular remodeling (restenosis) after balloon angioplasty and stenting. Diabetic patients are at a 4-fold increased risk of vessel re-closure after coronary artery stenting. Current drug eluting stents (DES) indiscriminately inhibit all cell growth. Our unique approach will encourage endothelial cell growth whilst limiting smooth muscle growth and the attachment of inflammatory cells to our coated surfaces. Together with Swinburne University, we are trialing new stent coatings in in vitro and in vivo models.
- Understanding of fundamental processes impacted by oxidative stress in diabetic cardiovascular complications.
- Impact of oxidative stress on inflammatory pathways, including NF-κB, Map Kinases, NLRP3-inflammasome activation, caspase-3 maturation and cytokine production.
- Understanding reductive stress and its effect on vascular remodelling.
- Use of novel activators of Nrf2 to limit diabetic cardiovascular disease.