Atherosclerosis laboratory moves to ANZAC Research Institute

Photo: Courtesy Julie Taranto

The ANZAC Research Institute has achieved a significant expansion with the establishment at Concord of the Atherosclerosis Research Laboratory, previously at the Centre for Vascular Research at the University of NSW.


The Atherosclerosis group, together with the existing Vascular Biology group.

“Having the laboratory here will greatly enhance the opportunities to collaborate with our colleagues at the ANZAC Research Institute,” said Professor Len Kritharides, who is the Director of Cardiology at Concord Hospital, and heads the Atherosclerosis and Vascular Biology Groups at the ANZAC.

“I am delighted that my colleague of many years, Professor Wendy Jessup, will be joining us to continue our laboratory research, funded by an NHMRC program grant which has just been renewed.”

The Vascular Biology team has been working closely with Concord Hospital’s Cardiology Department for several years, researching disorders of the heart and blood vessels, including platelet abnormalities and thrombosis. The addition of the atherosclerosis laboratory will provide fresh impetus and valuable resources to this research.

Atherosclerosis is a disease of the artery wall caused by a combination of cholesterol accumulation, inflammation, degeneration, and thrombosis. It is a major cause of illness and premature death worldwide, underlying almost all heart attacks, most strokes and the narrowing of arteries causing gangrene of the legs. It is promoted by conditions such as high levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), low levels of protective high-density lipoprotein (HDL), diabetes, and smoking.

Cardiovascular disease causes 30% of deaths worldwide according to the World Health Organisation, and 34% of deaths here in Australia.

“Our laboratory has a long standing interest in understanding the cellular biology of atherosclerosis, particularly the investigation of cholesterol metabolism and protein secretion by macrophages,” says Prof Kritharides.

“Our laboratory research so far has been cell-based. Now that we are established at the ANZAC Research Institute we can work even more closely with colleagues within the ANZAC and Concord Hospital to develop translational research to unravel the complexities of atherosclerosis and heart disease in people.”