Prof Judy de Haan – President, VIC

Judy de Haan [B.Sc(Hons), PhD] is Head of the Cardiovascular Inflammation and Redox Biology (CIRB) Laboratory (formerly the Oxidative Stress Laboratory) at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, Australia. She holds adjunct positions at Swinburne Uni, La Trobe Uni, Melbourne and Monash Uni. Prof de Haan obtained a BSc (Hons) and Master’s degree from the University of Cape Town, South Africa and a PhD from Monash
University. She was recruited to the Baker Institute as a Leader of the Oxidative Stress Lab which she established in 2004. In 2017, she was appointed a Baker Fellow and Head of the CIRB Laboratory. In 2019 she was appointed a member of the Drug Discovery and Translation Flagship of the Australian Cardiovascular Alliance (ACvA). Her research aims to improve the lives of diabetic patients by reducing the burden of cardiovascular complications. In particular, she focusses on reducing the pathogenic consequences of inflammatory and oxidant stress in diabetic cardiovascular complications.

Professor Stephen Nicholls – Immediate Past-President,  VIC

Stephen Nicholls is the Director of Monash Heart and Professor of Cardiology at Monash University, and will be the Director of the Victorian Heart Hospital. He completed his cardiology training at John Hunter Hospital and PhD at the University of Adelaide, prior to holding a postdoctoral fellowship and faculty appointment at the Cleveland Clinic. He returned to Australia to serve as the inaugural Deputy Director and Heart Health Theme Leader at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute. His research interests focus on the role of metabolic risk factors and imaging in atherosclerosis, with work spanning from early discovery to leadership of large clinical trials. He is Chair of the (i) Scientific Committee of the Australia and New Zealand Alliance for Cardiovascular Trials, (ii) Asia Pacific Cardiometabolic Consortium and (iii) Future Leader Fellowship committee of the National Heart Foundation, Secretary of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand, Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences and founding board member of the Australian Cardiovascular Alliance.

Dr Kristen Bubb – Secretary, VIC

Kristen Bubb is currently a group leader in the Biomedicine Discovery Institute and Victorian Heart Institutes at Monash University. Kristen obtained her PhD in 2010 at Monash University, working on the developmental origins of cardiovascular disease.  She then moved to London to work in Vascular Pharmacology where she was funded by a fellowship from the British Pharmacological Society, before being recruited to the new William Harvey Heart Centre for a post-doctoral position in Cardiovascular Pharmacology. She was then recruited to the University of Sydney, Kolling Institute of Medical Research in 2015 to co-lead the Oxidative Signalling Laboratory with Prof Gemma Figtree and developed a research program of investigating novel therapeutics and signalling pathways applicable to vascular diseases. At the end of 2019 Kristen started in her current position to establish a new laboratory in partnership with Prof Stephen Nicholls. Her main research interests are to investigate inflammatory signalling in vascular diseases, with the aim of developing novel therapeutics for vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis and pulmonary hypertension.

Dr Natalie Ward – Treasurer,  WA

Natalie Ward obtained her PhD in 2004 at the University of Western Australia. Following this, she undertook a NHMRC CJ Martin Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Massachusetts in the US  before returning to UWA, where she then held NHF and RPH/MRF Postdoctoral Fellowships. She is currently holds a Senior Research Fellow position within the Dobney Hypertension Centre, Medical School at the University of Western Australia, is Registry Coordinator for the WA Cardiac Outcomes Registry (WACOR) and Secretary of the West Australian Cardiovascular Research Alliance (WACRA), as well as holds an Honorary Position in the Harry Perkins Institute for Medical Research. She serves on the Editorial Boards of Scientific Reports, Oxidative Medicine & Cellular Longevity and Food & Function. Her research interests include vascular dysfunction and atherosclerosis, lipid disorders and statin intolerance, and the role of the gut microbiome in CVD.

Dr Camilla Bertuzzo Veiga – VIC

Camilla B Veiga is a postdoctoral researcher in the Haematopoiesis and Leukocyte Biology laboratory at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and completed her Masters in Nutrition and Molecular Biology at UNICAMP-Brazil before pursuing a PhD at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute. Her research focuses on investigating the interplay between the new cardiovascular disease risk factor called clonal haematopoiesis of indeterminate potential (CHIP), and cardiometabolic complications (diabetes, atherosclerosis, and obesity). She employs various animal models, diets, and advanced technologies such as flow cytometry, DNA methylation assays, fluorescence imaging and mouse genetic models in her research.

Dr Dragana Dragolievic – VIC

Dragana Dragoljevic completed a BBiomedSc at Monash University, and continued her studies at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute completing a PhD (Immunology). Dragana focussed on exploring the relationship between rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and exacerbated atherosclerotic heart disease, which resulted in a publication in the world leading cardiovascular (CV) journal; the European Heart Journal. This work demonstrated that CV disease (CVD) in patients with RA is independent to circulating cholesterol levels, yet causes a build-up of intracellular cholesterol, promoting myeloid cell production in stem cells. Subsequently, this work has highlighted an important role of excessive white blood cell production (haematopoiesis) in driving heart disease in the setting of RA.

Dragana is currently a postdoc in A/Prof Andrew Murphy’s laboratory, continuing her work in how alterations in haematopoiesis drive heightened CVD in inflammatory diseases settings, with a specific focus on the effect of mutated stem cells. Dragana currently holds a National Heart Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Dr Denuja Karunakaran – VIC

Denuja Karunakaran completed her PhD at Monash University, followed by a Heart Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship at UNSW, an Endowed Cardiovascular Genetics Fellowship at the Ottawa Heart Institute, Canada and a IMB Fellowship at The University of Queensland.  In August 2022, she established her independent laboratory at the Victorian Heart Hospital, Monash University, where they focus in understanding mechanisms of cardiometabolic diseases (e.g. atherosclerosis, obesity, diabetes) and their interactions that accelerate the progression of these diseases. Cardiometabolic Immunity Laboratory broadly focuses on inflammation, necroptosis, efferocytosis (clearance of dying cells) and the circadian clock in cardiometabolic diseases, with the ultimate focus of identifying novel therapeutic targets to improve patient outcomes. Dr Karunakaran’s research is funded by NHMRC and Diabetes Australia. 

Dr Sam Lee – VIC

Sam is a Group Leader in the Division of Immunometabolism of Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute directed by Prof Andrew Murphy. Sam completed his PhD in 2017 and joined Prof Andrew Murphy’s group in the Haematopoiesis and Leukocyte Biology Lab at Baker. He has been a recipient of the National Heart Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship and the NHF Paul Korner Award. His work focuses on how dietary risk factors contribute to cardiovascular disease. He has published a number of manuscripts in leading journals such as The Journal of Clinical Investigation and Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.

A/Prof. Costan Magnussen – TAS

Costan Magnusson is an epidemiologist with his main research focus on the early life determinants of adult cardiovascular and metabolic (cardiometabolic) disease. This work has relied on long-term observational studies, somewhat like the ”Up” TV series. His research vision is to provide the best evidence on important clinical and public health questions that will afford young people an optimal start in life — one that involves low relative and lifetime risk of clinical cardiometabolic outcomes.

Costan is a chief or principal investigator of the Childhood Determinants of Adult Health (CDAH) Study and the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study, and played a key role in the development of the International Childhood Cardiovascular Cohort (i3C) Consortium.  He has held postdoctoral positions at the University of Turku, Finland, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, and Menzies Institute for Medical Research. He is Adjunct Professor of cardiovascular epidemiology at the University of Turku, Finland, and is currently a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Emerging Leader (EL2) Fellow.

Dr Joe Moxon – QLD

Joe Moxon received his PhD from the University of Wales Aberystwyth (UK) in 2008 and immediately joined the JCU Vascular Biology Unit as a junior post-doctoral scientist, then   Senior Scientist within the Vascular Biology Unit in 2011. A competitive Advance Queensland Fellowship in 2017, coincided  with a promotion to Senior Research Fellow. Since 2019, Joe has held the position of Associate Dean, Research, JCU College of Medicine and Dentistry (Australia). His research focuses on peripheral artery disease (PAD), a common condition affecting up to one quarter of older adults. This research is conducted in collaboration with clinicians and scientists and utilises clinical, laboratory and data-driven approaches to Identify novel blood-based markers; test novel medications and to Identify barriers to care in underserved populations, particularly for those in regional areas.

Prof. Carl Schultz – WA

Carl Schultz is a clinical academic interventional cardiologist at Royal Perth Hospital and the University of Western Australia. His research focusses on better approaches to risk stratify and prevent CVD in high-risk populations. He has extensive experience in novel imaging modalities and established the use of OCT and 18F Sodium Fluoride PET for imaging atherosclerosis in Western Australia. He is also the Director of a very successful Cardiology clinical trials unit and the founding clinical lead for the West Australian Cardiovascular Outcome Registry (WACOR). 

Dr Arpeeta Sharma – VIC

Arpeeta is currently a research fellow in the Department of Diabetes, Monash University. She holds a BSc Hons (King’s College, London), and Masters and PhD in Pharmacology from University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Arpeeta was the recipient of an NHMRC Peter Doherty Early Career Fellowship and did her Post-doctoral studies under the supervision of Prof Judy de Haan at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute. Arpeeta has a proven track record in cardiovascular biology, in particular diabetes associated cardiovascular complications, endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerosis. She has held several project grants, including two Diabetes Australia Research Program General Grants and a Bayer Pharmaceuticals grant for New Indications. Her research focuses on identifying novel therapeutic strategies to target inflammation and oxidative stress in diabetes-associated vascular diseases.

Dr Joanne Tan – SA

Joanne Tan is a senior postdoctoral researcher with the Heart Health Theme at the South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute. Prior to this, she was at the Heart Research Institute where she investigated the vasculo-protective effects of HDL. Since 2011, her research focusses on the mechanisms underpinning the ability of HDL to regulate angiogenesis. She now seeks to identify novel therapeutic targets to relieve the debilitating effects of diabetic vascular complications.

Ms Jennifer Seabrook – VIC

Jennifer Seabrook [BSc(Hons), GAICD] was first associated with the AAS in the late 1980s as a member, and worked closely with several clinical members as Clinical Research Manager, including managing the LIPID Study for Bristol-Myers Squibb. When she and Ray established their consultancy, AAS was their first client with the design of the previous logo.  From 2000, Jennifer managed the AAS business affairs and conferences, before accepting AAS Life Membership on retirement in 2014. Jennifer was invited onto the Executive in 2021 and brings significant corporate history to the team. 

Professor Gerald Watts – Chair, FHAN, WA

Gerald Watts (DSc, MD, PhD, FRCP, FRACP) is a Professor in the Medical School, University of Western Australia and a consultant clinician and Head of the Lipid Disorders Clinic at Royal Perth Hospital. Gerald has had a long-held, internationally recognised interest in Familial Hypercholesterolaemia (FH) and was the driving force behind the AAS’s establishment of the FH Australasian Network and the FH Registry.

A/Professor David Sullivan – Chair, Clinical Council, NSW

David Sullivan is a physician and chemical pathologist in the Department of Clinical Biochemistry at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. This includes conjoint appointment as Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Sydney Central Clinical School. David has a long-term interest in lipid metabolism with particular emphasis on the environmental component (especially dietary) of gene – environment interactions contributing to cardiovascular disease. He has been involved in the early use of many forms of lipid-lowering intervention and has a particular interest in interventions arising from nutritional principles, such as the cholesterol-lowering effect of plant sterols. His other main interest is the improvement of detection and management of severe inherited dyslipidaemia, such as that seen in Familial Hypercholesterolaemia.