Dr Christina Bursill – President
Christina Bursill started as leader of the Plaque biology and New blood vessel area in January 2017 at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute and as a Senior Research Fellow at The University of Adelaide, Department of Health and Medical Science. She recently received the inaugural Lin Huddleston National Heart Foundation fellowship. Dr Bursill is a vascular biologist with interests and expertise in vascular inflammation, atherosclerosis and angiogenesis. She completed her PhD at The University of Adelaide in lipid metabolism then headed to Oxford University for five years to undergo a postdoctoral post in the Departments of Cardiovascular Medicine and Pathology. Her postdoctoral time triggered her interest in the mechanisms that cause atherosclerosis and in particular the role of small inflammatory proteins called Chemokines. Christina returned to Australia in 2007 at the Heart Research Institute (HRI) in Sydney where she led the Immunobiology Group. In 2008, Dr Bursill was awarded a National Heart Foundation Career Development Fellowship. At the HRI Dr Bursill developed an interest in high-density lipoproteins (HDL) and through NHMRC/NHF funding investigates novel mechanisms of their action in models of stent biocompatibility, diabetes and wound healing. She also has an interest in using viral gene transfer techniques to over-express proteins that attenuate chemokine activity to suppress atherosclerosis and inflammatory-driven diseases. In 2015 she was awarded the University of Sydney Thompson Fellowship
Professor Trevor Mori – Immediate Past President
University of Western Australia (WA)
Professor Trevor Mori is a medical research scientist in the School of Medicine and Pharmacology at the University of Western Australia. He holds a National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia Senior Research Fellowship. He has more than 30 years research experience in the study of nutrition, hypertension, atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.
Professor Stephen Nicholls – Director – Clinical Council Chair
South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute (SA)
Stephen Nicholls is Professor of Cardiology at the University of Adelaide and the inaugural SAHMRI Heart Foundation Heart Disease Theme Leader at the South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute. He completed his medical training in Adelaide, cardiology training in Newcastle and a PhD at the Heart Research Institute. He proceeded to the Cleveland Clinic for a postdoctoral fellowship, followed by faculty appointments in the departments of Cardiovascular Medicine and Cell Biology.
He has authored more than 370 book chapters, meeting abstracts and original manuscripts and is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, ATVB and the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. His research interests include the atheroprotective properties of HDL, development of new plaque imaging modalities and clinical trials investigating novel anti-atherosclerotic therapies
Dr Joanne Tan – Editor
Senior Postdoctoral Researcher
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.
Dr Mary Kavurma – Secretary – Group Leader, Vascular Complications Group, HRI (NSW)
Mary’s career began with a Bachelor of Science from Macquarie University. She then went on to complete Honours at the University of NSW. Mary completed her PhD at the University of NSW. This work has important implications in advanced atherosclerosis, as smooth muscle cell death can promote plaque instability and rupture. Mary was then awarded a competitive NHMRC CJ Martin fellowship which saw her move to the University of Cambridge for two years where she studied smooth muscle apoptosis, or cell death, in atherosclerosis. In 2009 Mary received a large project grant from the NHMRC to investigate the role of TRAIL in atherosclerosis. This allowed her to employ her first team members. She was appointed group leader in 2012 and the following year the team moved to the HRI.
Dr Natalie Ward – Treasurer
University of Western Australia (WA)
Natalie Ward completed her PhD in 2003 and was awarded the CJ Martin NH&MRC Research Fellowship. Her interests encompass hypertension and cardiovascular disease research and she is currently an Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the University of Western Australia.
Dr Belinda Di Bartolo – Director
Belinda completed her PhD in 2009 at the Heart Research Institute in Sydney. In 2011 she was awarded an NHMRC Early Career Training Fellowship to undertake research at the Centre for Vascular Research. Belinda joined SAHMRI mid-way through 2015 as a Senior Post Doctoral Fellow and her current research interests include the effect of lipids and lipid-lowering therapies on the process of vascular calcification in heart disease and diabetes.
Dr Anna Calkin – Program Secretary
Baker IDI (VIC)
Dr Anna Calkin obtained a BSc Biomed (Honours) in Physiology from Monash University. Dr Calkin received a NHF postgraduate scholarship as the top-ranked Victorian candidate to undertake her PhD studies at the Baker Institute, exploring the molecular pathways that are modulated by commonly used agents in diabetes and dyslipidemia and how such drugs influence organs susceptible to diabetic complications.
Dr Calkin is a National Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellow and holds an adjunct lecturer position at Monash University, with teaching and lecturing roles within the Department of Physiology. Dr Calkin has over 30 publications including those in PNAS, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Nature Reviews and Circulation and ATVB. Anna has received funding from the Diabetes Australia Research Trust, CASS, NHF and NHMRC.