Perth 2011 AuPS/ASCEPT/HBPRCA Meeting

AuPS Symposia and Joint symposia

International Symposia Speakers

Symposia Chairs and Speakers

Abnormalities in ion transport and signaling in muscle ageing and disease

  • Chair: Livia Hool & Jamie Vandenberg
    Livia Hool Livia Hool completed her PhD at Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney in 1995. She then undertook 2 years postdoctoral research as recipient of an American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship in the School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. In 1998 she was awarded a Peter Doherty Fellowship from NHMRC and relocated to The University of Western Australia where she established the Cardiovascular Electrophysiology Laboratory in the discipline of Physiology, School of Biomedical Biomolecular and Chemical Sciences. She is currently recipient of an ARC Future Fellowship and Honorary NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship.

    Her research interests include the study of the regulation of cardiac ion channels by hypoxia and oxidative stress, in particular the L-type Ca2+ channel including redox modification of the channel protein.

  • Speakers:
Annamaria de Luca Annamaria de Luca Annamaria de Luca: Born in Italy 01/01/1962 and graduated cum laude in Pharmacy at the University of Bari in 1985. After a PhD in Applied Pharmacology, she was Assistant Professor (1989-1991), then Associate Professor (2000-2005) at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Bari, where she currently is Full Professor of Pharmacology. The intense teaching activity over the years to both undergraduate (Pharmacy, Medicinal Chemistry, Biotechnology) and PhD students, including thesis mentorship, widely covered the entire pharmacology field. Since then, including early research stages during PhD and post-doc at the University College London, U.K. (Prof. Gerta Vrbovà) and at the University of Ulm (Prof. Reinhardt Rüdel), her research interest is the pathophysiology and pharmacology of neuromuscular disorders. Main research topics are the pharmacology of skeletal muscle ion channels involved in excitability disorders and in alteration of mechano-transduction and pre-clinical studies in animal models of muscular dystrophies for the identification of druggable targets and prediction of potential clinical efficacy of therapeutics. This is documented by over 90 full papers on peer-reviewed indexed Journals. Methodological approaches include in vivo behavioral techniques, ex vivo electrophysiology and physiology, biochemistry and molecular biology and histology. She has extensive collaborations worldwide with both public and private institutions, and is member of various Advisory Boards and Scientific Committees, such as the International TREAT-NMD Advisory Committee for Therapeutics (TACT).
David Allen,
Paul Gregorevic,
Thea Shavlakadze. Thea Shavlakadze Dr Thea Shavlakadze (TS) is currently a Visiting Research Fellow at Novartis in Boston, USA for one year, working on a project with David Glass, Global Head of the Muscle Research Unit. TS is also a Research Associate Professor in the School of Anatomy and Human Biology at the University of Western Australia (UWA) where she holds research grants and currently co-supervises 5 PhD students. TS graduated from the Tbilisi State University, in Georgia with a Postgraduate degree in Cell Biology (1998) and was awarded a PhD with Distinction from the UWA in 2005. Since 2007, TS has obtained $1.4 million in research funding, including being CI on 4 NH & MRC grants, and has 25 publications since 2000. The research of TS has targeted factors controlling the growth and maintenance of skeletal muscle mass and potential therapies for muscle disorders with a focus on in vivo studies and tissue analyses. Major areas of research include the role of Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1) in regulating skeletal muscle mass, and analyses of signalling pathways and other factors involved in skeletal muscle wasting, especially the progressive age-related loss of muscle mass and function known as sarcopenia.

Being a small baby or being born preterm: which is worse for your health?

  • Chair: Lawrie Beilin & Trevor Mori
  • Speakers:
Claire Roberts Claire Roberts Claire Roberts directs Placenta Research in the Robinson Institute, University of Adelaide Australia. Her research aims to elucidate the molecular mechanisms by which placental trophoblasts invade the maternal endometrium and its vasculature to sequester maternal blood flow to the placenta that is critical for pregnancy success. She is well known for her research on the role of IGFs in placentation and has expertise in this process in a variety of species including mouse, guinea pig and human. She is developing screening tools to predict which couples are at risk for developing common and life-threatening complications of pregnancy in which defective placentation is a feature including preeclampsia, pre-term birth and fetal growth restriction.
Karen Moritz Karen Moritz Associate Professor Karen Moritz is a NH & MRC Senior Research Fellow in the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Queensland. The aim of her work is to understand how prenatal perturbations contribute to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular, renal and metabolic disease in adulthood. Over the last 5-7 years, her research has focused on determining the pivotal role played by the kidney in the “developmental programming” of adult disease. Her research has shown a reduced nephron endowment is associated with hypertension and renal impairment in the adult following excess maternal glucocorticoid exposure, maternal low protein diet, placental insufficiency and most recently, prenatal alcohol exposure.
Janna Morrison Janna Morrison An accomplished researcher in the field of fetal development, Janna Morrison is Head of the Early Origins of Adult Health Research Group in the Sansom Institute for Health Research at the University of South Australia. Dr Morrison has been funded as a fellow by the Heart Foundation since 2004 and is currently a South Australian Cardiovascular Health Network Fellow. Her current research centres on how the fetal cardiovascular system responds to changes in nutrient supply before conception and during pregnancy. After completing her PhD at the University of British Columbia, Janna held postdoctoral positions at University of Toronto and the University of Adelaide before joining the Sansom Institute for Health Research in 2006. Among her numerous awards and achievements, Janna received a South Australian Tall Poppy Science Award (2006) in recognition of her work examining the link between low birth weight and heart disease in adulthood.
Laura Bennet
Laura Bennet Professor Laura Bennet is co-director of the Fetal Physiology and Neuroscience Group in the Department of Physiology, at the University of Auckland. She is a fetal systems physiologist with a particular interest in cerebrovascular and neurophysiology and the physiological and pathological responses of the preterm fetus to hypoxia and infection. In addition to ongoing work on neuroprotection treatments and identifying biomarkers for predicting the at risk brain, she has recently begun to evaluate strategies for neurorepair. This work is targeted at developing treatments for cerebral palsy.
Rae-Chi Huang Rae-Chi Huang Rae-Chi Huang completed a BSc at the UoW and then Hons/PhD with Prof Hill (JCSMR, ANU) examining the mechanisms underlying vasomotion in small blood vessels. I then undertook a postdoctoral position with Dr Cunnane (Uni. Of Oxford, UK) using confocal imaging to examine vascular smooth muscle calcium transients associated with peripheral nerve activity before joining Prof Morris and Dr Sandow (UNSW) as a NHMRC Doherty Fellow investigating the effects of diet-induced obesity on the vascular endothelium. Most recently, I have returned to the ANU where my studies have focussed on the effects of obesity on sympathetic activity in the resistance vasculature.
Bronwyn Kingwell Bronwyn Kingwell Professor Bronwyn Kingwell is a NHMRC Principal Research Fellow, and at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne is Executive Director, Science Policy, co-Head of the Metabolism and Obesity Division (6 laboratories) and also leads the Healthy Lifestyle Research Centre. She has Professorial appointments in the Department of Medicine and Department of Physiology at Monash University and is a Principal Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne. She received her PhD in physiology from the University of Melbourne in 1991. Her multi-disciplinary Metabolic and Vascular Physiology Laboratory works on discovery and translation of novel molecular mechanisms to clinical application with a focus in the following areas:
  • Vascular function including mechanical and endothelium properties and their relationship to cardiovascular risk.
  • Identification of novel predictors of unstable coronary heart disease
  • The role of HDL cholesterol in modulation of glucose and fat metabolism
Professor Kingwell holds NHMRC Program and Project grants and is a lead investigator on two Clinical Research Excellence grants. She has published over 140 peer-reviewed manuscripts in top-ranked general and discipline specific journals.

Cardiac arrhythmia mechanisms

  • Chair: Yue-Kun Ju & David Allen
    Yue-Kun Ju Yur-Kun Ju Dr. Yue-kun Ju is a senior research fellow of Muscle Cell Function Laboratory, the Department of Physiology, University of Sydney. Dr. Ju received a Medical Degree and Master Degree of Medicine at The Fourth Military Medical University (FMMU), Xian, P.R China. In 1989, she came to Australia and studied the persistent sodium channels in cardiac myocytes with the late Prof. Peter Gage and Dr. David Saint at John Curtin School of Medical Research. She received her PhD in Neuroscience at Australian National University in 1994. Dr. Ju joined Prof. David Allen’s laboratory in 1996 and has, since that time, pursued her research on the calcium mechanisms that regulate cardiac pacemaker activity. She is now a council member of ISHR Australasian; AuPS and an international fellow of the American Heart Association. Her current research interests include IP3 Receptors, TRPC and store-operated Ca2+ channels and their possible involvement in cardiac arrhythmia.
    David Allen David Allen David Allen is Professor of Physiology at the University of Sydney. He trained in Physiology and Medicine at University College London where he also undertook his PhD on the activation of cardiac muscle. As a post-doctoral fellow he joined John Blinks at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota where they devised the first method for measuring intracellular calcium in the heart. On his return to University College as a Lecturer, then Reader, he undertook a series of studies of calcium regulation in the heart and, in particular, its modification by muscle length and ischaemia. In 1989 he moved to Sydney to take up a Chair of Physiology. His current research interests encompass pacemaker function, ischaemia and reperfusion of the heart, skeletal muscle fatigue and the damage pathways in muscular dystrophy. In 2006 he was made a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. He is currently the President of the Australian Physiological Society.
  • Speakers:
Igor Efimov Igor Efimov Igor R. Efimov, Ph.D., F.A.H.A., F.H.R.S. The Lucy and Stanley Lopata Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Professor of Cell Biology and Physiology, Professor of Medicine and Professor of Radiology, Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri. Receive his M.Sc. In 1986 and Ph.D. In 1992 from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Moscow Russia. 1992-1994 - Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Pittsburgh, USA. Faculty appointments at the Cleveland Clinic (1994-2000), Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland OH (2000-2004), and Washington University in St. Louis (2004-present), MO, USA. In 2009 founded Cardialen, Inc. which develops low energy defibrillation therapy for cardiac arrhythmias.
Adam Hill  Adam Hill I am a group leader in the Mark Cowley Lidwill research program in cardiac electrophysiology at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Sydney. My research interests are split between two related disciplines, ion channel physiology and computational cardiology. The main focuses of our work are: 1) Using novel approaches such as voltage clamp fluorometry and -value analysis to interrogate structure function relationships in ion channels and 2) Developing computational simulations of cardiac electrical activity to investigate the genesis of rhythm disturbances in cardiac tissue.
Derek Laver Derek Laver Derek Laver: I received my PhD at the University of NSW in 1984 and I now lead the Channel Biophysics group at the University of Newcastle. The theme to my research career has been the use of biophysical methods to study membrane transport and ion channel function. I use electrophysiolological techniques to measure ion channel function. Channel function is analysed using Markov theory to unravel and identify the complex mechanisms that control ion channels within cells. My research focus is now the calcium release channels in cardiac muscle and the role they play in normal cardiac pacemaking, cardiac arrhythmia and sudden death.

Challenges in pharmacology and physiology education

  • Chair: Lynette Fernandes
    Lynette Fernandes Lynette completed her PhD at UWA before taking up postdoctoral positions at The Johns Hopkins University. On returning to UWA, she continued her research in respiratory pharmacology, with an emphasis on airway nerve function and modulation. In 2004, she was appointed to an academic teaching and learning position within Pharmacology at UWA. Lynette was part of a nation-wide team that secured funding from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) for a project entitled “Ensuring quality graduates of Pharmacology”. She has developed a program in responsible conduct in learning and research that has now been embedded within the Pharmacology curriculum. Lynette is also leading the development of a multi-disciplinary ethics unit that will be available to undergraduate students across UWA. Lynette is currently an ASCEPT councillor where she is involved with the joint ASCEPT-AuPS-HBPRCA joint meeting in Perth. She is also responsible for the ASCEPT Mentoring Program.

Elucidating abnormalities in cardiac metabolism

  • Chair: Livia Hool & Helena Viola
    Helena Viola Helena Viola carried out her PhD in the Cardiovascular Electrophysiology Laboratory of Assoc. Prof. Livia Hool at the University of Western Australia from 2007-2010, as recipient of a National Heart Foundation and NHMRC Postgraduate Scholarship. She currently holds a Research Associate position in Assoc. Prof. Hool’s laboratory. Her research interests include the study of mechanisms involved in progression toward cardiac hypertrophy in response to mild oxidative stress, with particular interest in the role of the L-type calcium channel and mitochondria.
  • Speakers:
Lea Delbridge
Lea Delbridge Prof Lea Delbridge heads the Cardiac Phenomics Laboratory in the Department of Physiology at the University of Melbourne. Her research focus is to understand structural and functional cardiopathilogy in different forms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy associated with hormonal disturbances. Lea is World Council Member and President of the Australasian Section Council of the International Society of Heart Research (ISHR), a Council member for the Australian Physiological Society (AuPS), an elected Fellow ofthe Cardiac Soc of Aust & NZ and appointed to the CSANZ Scientific Committee. She is also an editorial board member for a number of international journals, including J Molecular & Cellular Cardiology, Am J Physiol (Heart), and of course CEPP!
Salvatore Pepe
Salvatore Pepe Dr Salvatore Pepe is based at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute at the The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne. His research is centred on the molecular study of cardiac metabolism and contraction, focused on mitochondrial function, oxidative metabolism, the regulation of adaptive processes including cardioprotection, and mitochondrial defects that contribute to the development and progression of heart failure. A large part of this research is translational to the clinical and surgical setting for age-related and congenital heart diseases.
Aleksandra Filipovska
Aleksandra Filipovska Aleksandra Filipovska received her PhD in 2002 from the University of Otago, New Zealand. From 2003-2005 she was a NZ Foundation for Research, Science and Technology Fellow at the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit in Cambridge, the United Kingdom. In 2006 she relocated to Australia as a NH & MRC Howard Florey Fellow and established her research group at the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research in Perth. She is currently an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and a group leader at the University of Western Australia. Her research interests are in mitochondrial gene expression and in targeting molecules with biological function to mitochondria and cells.

Epithelial transport - expanding the boundaries

  • Chair & Speaker: Stefan Bröer
    Stefan Bröer Stefan Broer studied Biochemistry at the University of Tuebingen/Germany from 1981 to 1986 and received his PhD in 1991. After being a research fellow of the German Science Foundation at the University of Illinois in Chicago he was appointed as Junior Lecturer at the University of Tuebingen in the Institute of Physiological Chemistry in 1993. In 2000 Stefan moved to the ANU as a Senior Lecturer in the School of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2006 and to full Professor in 2008. Stefan was treasurer and council member of the Australian Physiological Society from 2005-2009.
  • Speakers:
Naohiko Anzai Nahohiko Anzai Naohiko ANZAI, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor at Dokkyo Mecial Univertsity School of Medicine, Tochigi, JAPAN. Born in Tokyo, Japan, 1965.
1994 - 1990: Medical studies at Chiba University, Japan
1990 - 1994: Resident at Chiba University Hospital
1995 - 1999: Assistant Professor at Kitasato University, Japan
1999 - 2001: Fellow at the Institute Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (IPMC), CNRS, France
2001 - 2011: Assistant and associate professor at the Kyorin University.
2011 -: Professor at Dokkyo Medical University, Tochigi, Japan Activities: American Physiological Society, American Society of Nephrology, International Society of Nephrology, European Renal Association, Japanese Pharmacological Society, Physiological Society of Japan

Peter Thorn Peter Thorn I am an Associate Professor in the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Queensland. Previously I worked for 10 years as a lecturer and, in the end as a Reader, at Cambridge University in the Department of Pharmacology. My studies focus on the regulation of secretion in epithelial cells. Despite their physiological significance, in the functioning of the lungs and gastrointestinal system, we know remarkably little about the actual mechanisms of secretion in these cells.
Phil Poronnik Philip Poronnik Philip Poronnik is Professor and Head of Pharmaceutical Sciences at RMIT University and Acting Deputy Head of School Learning and Teaching. He was previously Professor in Physiology at the School of Biomedical Sciences at UQ. He is an ALTC Associate Fellow and his main interest in science education is leadership in the reinvigoration of the tertiary science curriculum. This includes pedagogies for creativity and visual literacies as well as academic rigour in the enabling sciences. He has an adjunct Professorial appointment in the Centre for Educational Innovation and Technology at UQ, is a co-opted member of the National Committee for Biomedical Sciences of the Australian Academy of Science and the National Secretary for ANZAAS. He recently received an ALTC grant to form the Collaborative Universities Biomedical Education Network (CUBENET).
Anuwat Dinudom Anuwat Dinudom Associate Professor Anuwat Dinudom

Anuwat Dinudom received his PhD from The University of Sydney in 1994. He was a Medical Foundation Research Fellow from 1994-1996, an NH & MRC RD Wright recipient from 2000-2003, and NH & MRC Senior Research Fellow from 2004-2010, all working in the Laboratory of Exocrine Physiology & Biophysics within the Sydney Medical School. His research focuses on identifying the cellular signalling mechanisms that regulate the epithelial Na+ channel (ENaC). His research team was the fist to discover the role of intracellular Na+ and anions in the regulation of ENaC and showed that the G protein-coupled receptor kinase (GRK2) regulates activity of the channel.

Exercise and cardiovascular function in health and disease

  • Chair: Michael McKenna
  • Speakers:
Michael Joyner Michael Joyner Michael J. Joyner, M.D., is the Caywood Professor of Anesthesiology at Mayo Clinic where he was named Distinguished Investigator in 2010. His interests include: cardiovascular regulation in humans, the physiology of world records, and autonomic regulation of blood glucose. His undergraduate (1981) and medical (1987) degrees are from the University of Arizona with residency and research training at Mayo. He has held leadership positions at Mayo, in the extramural research community, and with leading journals. His lab has been funded by the NIH since 1993, and former fellows have established independent research programs at leading institutions throughout the world.
Louise Naylor Louise Naylor Dr Louise Naylors research focus is on cardiac and vascuilar adaptations to exercise training, and the application of this work to optimise clinical outcomes for "at risk" populations.

During her research career, she have worked across the spectrum of health and disease, from elite athlethes to chronically ill individuals (for example, patients with advanced heart failure, obesity and adolescents with type 2 diabetes) to generate a multifaceted understanding of cardiac and vascular exercise physiology. She is also involved in basic science research to add further mechanistic insights into regulation of the cardiovascular system.

Danny Green Danny Green Danny Green is a Winthrop Professor in the School of Sports Science, Exercise and Health at The University of Western Australia and the Chair of Cardiovascular Physiology in the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences at Liverpool John Moores University. His research investigates the reasons why exercise, exercise training and physical activity prevent heart disease and the best combinations of exercise and other preventative measures to minimise the risk of future development and re-occurrence of cardiovascular disease.

His research encompasses the lifespan; from exercise training in prevention of the development of atherosclerosis in obese children and adolescents, to the management of patients with hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, coronary disease and heart failure. He has published over 150 peer reviewed articles in cardiology and physiology journals, delivered 20 invited keynote presentations at national and international conferences, been awarded 20 conference prizes and held continuous competitive grant funding since the 1990's. He has supervised 20 higher degree students at UWA and in the UK. In the 1990's he established a research intensive Clinical Exercise Physiology service in the Cardiac Transplant Unit at Royal Perth Hospital (RPH), the first of its type in Australia. He is a currently an editor for Experimental Physiology and an editorial advisor for Clinical Science (London).

Functional consequences of genetic muscle conditions

  • Chair: Livia Hool & Gina Ravenscroft
    Gina Ravenscroft Dr Gina Ravenscroft is a postdoctoral researcher in the Molecular Neurogenetics Laboratory at the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research and University of Western Australia. Gina joined the Molecular Neurogenetics Laboratory as a PhD student after obtaining her undergraduate degree and Honours qualifications (majoring in Physiology) at UWA. Her main research interests include investigating the genetic causes of skeletal muscle diseases, including foetal akinesias; the functional role of wild-type and mutant proteins; and investigating routes to therapy for the group of severe congenital muscle diseases caused by mutations in the skeletal muscle alpha-actin gene.
  • Speakers:
Nigel Laing
Nigel Laing Nigel Laing: PhD Edinburgh University 1979; post-doc Oslo 1980; University of Western Australia since 1981. 1976-1987 I was a neuroembryologist researching motor neuron and muscle development. 1987-1988 I retrained in human molecular genetics at Duke University. In Western Australia I developed research and diagnostic molecular neurogenetics laboratories and have identified 15 human disease genes, including mutations in skeletal muscle a-actin in congenital myopathies and in slow skeletal/b-cardiac myosin in “Laing” distal myopathy. My laboratory is currently engaged in further gene discovery, understanding the pathobiology of the diseases, developing effective therapies and translating results into clinical and population health practice.
Coen Ottenheijm
Coen Ottenheijm Coen Ottenheijm: Since 2010, I am working as Assistant Professor at the dept of Physiology at the VU University Medical Center (Amsterdam, the Netherlands). My research focuses on the role of nebulin, and of other sarcomeric thin filament proteins, in the pathogenesis of muscle weakness in nemaline myopathy. This work, which is funded by the EU and the Dutch Foundation for Scientific Research, concerns research on unique muscle biopsies from genetically characterized patients, and on nebulin-based KO mouse models. It is my goal to contribute to a better understanding of the pathogenesis of muscle weakness in NM, and to help develop new treatment strategies.
Kathryn North
Kathryn North Professor Kathryn North is the Douglas Burrows Professor of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney and Head of the Institute for Neuroscience and Muscle Research based at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead,

Professor North is trained as a paediatric physician, neurologist and clinical geneticist and in 1994, was awarded a doctorate from the University of Sydney for research into Neurogenetics. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Harvard Genetics Program and returned to Australia in 1995 as the recipient of the Children’s Hospital Research Career Development Award. In 2000, she received the Sunderland Award from the Australian Neuroscience Society and in 2008 was named the Sutherland Lecturer by the Human Genetics Society of Australasia. In 2011, Prof North was awarded the GSK Australia Award for Research Excellence in recognition of her body of work as a translational research scientist and her world-first discovery of a common genetic mutation that influences muscle function and performance,

Her laboratory research interests focus on the molecular basis of inherited muscle disorders - particularly the muscular dystrophies and congenital myopathies – as well as genes which influence normal skeletal muscle function and elite athletic performance. Her clinical research focuses on clinical trials of therapies for muscular dystrophy as well as the development of interventions for children with learning disabilities. Professor North also runs the Neurogenetics Clinical Service at the Children’s Hospital which cares for ~1800 patients and their families with a range of disorders including neuromuscular diseases such as muscular dystrophy and neurofibromatosis.

Fundamental mechanisms of function of the normal and diseased heart

  • Chair: Lea Delbridge & Peter Molenaar
  • Speakers:
Julia Gorelik Julia Gorelik Dr Julia Gorelik is a Reader within the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London. She works with Scanning Ion Conductance Microscopy (SICM), which enables recording of high-resolution topography of living cells and tissues. Dr Gorelik improved SICM to measure localisation of ion channels and receptors, contraction, rhythm and calcium dynamics of cardiomyocytes, allowing the study of arrhythmias and heart failure conditions on cultured heart cells and tissues. Recently she developed a combination of SICM and fluorescence resonance energy transfer techniques to investigate spatial β2-adrenoceptor-cyclic AMP signalling in failing and non-failing hearts (Science, 2010). She received Welcome Trust University Award and Rector Research Excellence Award, 2010.
Livia Hool
David Saint David Saint David Saint is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physiology at the University of Adelaide. He is the co-founder and CEO of Rhinopharma Ltd (Canadian Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Co), now re-listed on AIM as Verona Pharmaceuticals Ltd. He is now scientific advisor for Verona, Chairman of Bioangels SA (Biotechnology Angel investor group based in Adelaide, Australia). His research interests and expertise are in Biophysics, Pharmacology, Toxicology, Cardiac Physiology, Electrophysiology and Pathophysiology.
Peter Molenaar Peter Molenaar Peter Molenaar is head of the in vitro human heart laboratory (Prince Charles Hospital) and Molecular human heart pharmacology laboratory (Inst of Health and Biomedical Innovation, QUT). The laboratories have a long standing interest in investigations of G-protein coupled receptor- and in particular beta-adrenoceptor subtype signaling in human heart.

Mechanisms underlying vascular dysfunction in disease and injury

  • Chair:Caryl Hill & Dirk van Helden
    Caryl Hill Caryl Hill obtained her PhD from the University of Melbourne, studying autonomic nerve development and function under the supervision of Geoffrey Burnstock. Subsequent work at the Australian National University, employing the vascular system as an autonomic target tissue, produced an enduring fascination with the mechanisms underlying vasomotor activity; in particular the impact of cell coupling on the vasodilatory capacity of the endothelium and the coordination of vascular responses. Professor Hill’s work aims to integrate data from electrophysiological studies with anatomical and molecular biological techniques to gain insight into the similarities and differences which underpin vascular function throughout the body, with the ultimate aim of understanding vascular disease.
    Dirk van Helden Dirk van Helden: I am an NHMRC Principal Research Fellow at the University of Newcastle. I trained in Engineering and then did some bridging studies in Biomedical Sciences followed by a PhD in Physiology at the University of NSW and a brief postdoctoral period studying the neuromuscular junction in Peter Gage’s laboratory. A subsequent postdoctoral period was undertaken as a Nuffield Fellow at the University of Cambridge with Richard Keynes studying sodium channel gating currents. I then returned to University of NSW on a QEII Fellowship and subsequently moved to the John Curtin School of Medical Research as a Research Fellow working with David Hirst on neurovascular transmission. I then went to the University of Newcastle in 1987 to fulfil my dream of running my own laboratory in an environment where the early morning surf was not out of the question. My current interests encompass research into pacemaker and signal propagation mechanisms in various smooth muscles (e.g. lymphatic, gastrointestinal and uterine), the heart and the brain (e.g. Locus coeruleus). Translational research is also underway into snakebite first aid, an offshoot of the lymphatic studies. I am currently the Director of the Cardiovascular Research Program in the Hunter Medical Research Institute.
  • Speakers:
Barbara Kemp-Harper
Barbara Kemp-Harper Barb Kemp-Harper is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Pharmacology, Monash University. After completing her PhD in 1995 she was awarded a NHMRC CJ Martin fellowship and then a Foundation for High Blood Pressure Research Postdoctoral Fellowship. Barb’s research aims to identify novel strategies for the prevention and treatment of vascular disease with a focus on the NO/cGMP signaling pathway. She is a leading expert in the field of nitroxyl (HNO) pharmacology and her work has attracted funding from the NHMRC and other national funding bodies. She has served as a Guest Editor for Antioxidants & Redox Signaling and she is currently an ASCEPT Councillor.
Shane Thomas
Shane Thomas Shane Thomas received a PhD in 1999 from the University of Sydney. He undertook post-doctoral studies at the Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute, Boston University as an NHMRC CJ Martin fellow and then moved to the Centre for Vascular Research, University of New South Wales where he established an independent research group as an NHMRC RD Wright Career Development Fellow. He is currently Group Leader of the ‘Redox Cell Signalling Group’ at the same centre and institution. A major research focus of his group is defining the reduction and oxidation (redox) reactions and cell signalling pathways underlying endothelial dysfunction during cardiovascular disease and the development of new treatments to combat such dysfunction.
Rebecca Haddock
Rebecca Haddock Rebecca Haddock: I completed a BSc at the UoW and then Hons/PhD with Prof Hill (JCSMR, ANU) examining the mechanisms underlying vasomotion in small blood vessels. I then undertook a postdoctoral position with Dr Cunnane (Uni. Of Oxford, UK) using confocal imaging to examine vascular smooth muscle calcium transients associated with peripheral nerve activity before joining Prof Morris and Dr Sandow (UNSW) as a NHMRC Doherty Fellow investigating the effects of diet-induced obesity on the vascular endothelium. Most recently, I have returned to the ANU where my studies have focussed on the effects of obesity on sympathetic activity in the resistance vasculature.
James Brock james Brock James Brock is an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Melbourne.  His primary research focus is the mechanisms of transmission at sympathetic neurovascular junctions.  Recently this work has focussed on the effects of nerve injuries on blood vessel function.  James also has a particular interest in the mechanisms that control the excitability of unmyelinated sensory nerve terminals.  He developed a technique that for first time allowed electrical activity to be recorded directly from nociceptive nerve terminals.  Using this approach he is investigating mechanisms that regulate action potential generation in nociceptors.

Regulation of intracellular calcium signalling in vascular tissue

  • Chair: Simon Potocnik
    Simon Potocnik Simon Potocnik obtained his PhD at the Howard Florey Institute, University of Melbourne and gained postdoctoral experience at the Baker Institute, St Mary’s Hospital London and the Austin Hospital in the area of micro-vascular physiology. At RMIT University since 1998 his research has focused on the myogenic response of small arterioles to arterial pressure and underlying smooth muscle signalling. Simon is the Honours Program Coordinator for RMIT University School of Medical Sciences and Associate Editor for the AuPS.
  • Speakers:
Michael Hill Michael Hill Ph.D., University of Melbourne (1988). Postdoctoral training at Texas A & M University before holding academic positions in physiology at Eastern Virginia Medical School, RMIT University and University of New South Wales. Current positions, Associate Director Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center and Professor of Physiology, Department of Medical Pharmacology and Physiology, University of Missouri, USA; and Distinguished Research Fellow, RMIT University. President-elect Microcirculatory Society (USA) and Chair of Nominating Committee/Member of the Steering Committee, American Physiological Society (CV Section). Fulbright Alumni. Current funding, National Institutes of Health (NHLBI). Member of editorial boards for Microcirculation, Journal of Vascular Research and Frontiers in Vascular Physiology.
Tim Murphy
Tim Murphy Dr Tim Murphy completed his PhD in 1992 at the University of Melbourne, Australia. He has held Postdoctoral positions funded by the NH & MRC and the Wellcome Trust (UK) and was inaugural Senior Scientist at RMIT Drug Discovery Technologies (RDDT). In 2004, Dr Murphy was appointed Senior Lecturer in the Department of Physiology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, where he is currently based.

Dr Murphy’s studies primarily focus on the interaction between intra-luminal pressure and vascular smooth muscle function in small arteries. He is also interested in the effects of obesity and diabetes on the function of small arteries.

Grigori Rychkov
Grigori Rychkov Grigori Rychkov obtained his Bachelor of Science (Physics) degree in Rostov-on-Don state University (Russia) in 1983. After graduating from University he moved to Research Institute of Experimental Biology in Yerevan (Armenia) to do PhD in the area of biophysics of ion channels. In 1994 Dr Rychkov immigrated to Australia and started a post-doctoral position with Prof Alan Bretag in University of South Australia investigating gating properties of skeletal muscle chloride channels. In 2002 he was awarded ARC Research Fellowship and in 2007 NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship. His Current research investigates the role store-operated Ca2+ channels and transient receptor potential (TRP) cation channels in the functions of animal cells.
Owen Woodman
Owen Woodman Owen Woodman has more than 30 years experience in research into the function of the cardiovascular system and the adverse effects of disease, working at institutions including Harvard University and the University of Melbourne before joining RMIT University in 2007. He is presently Professor of Cell Biology in the School of Medical Sciences, RMIT University, Deputy Head of School (Research) and Head of the Discipline of Cell Biology and Anatomy. He has a particular interest in the development of new drugs for the treatment of acute myocardial infarction and vascular disease, including diabetes-induced vascular pathologies. His work in conjunction with colleagues from the Howard Florey Institute and the School of Chemistry, University of Melbourne has formed the basis of the commercial development of cardioprotective drugs by the biotechnology company Neuprotect Pty Ltd.

Structure-function studies of drug targets and drug metabolising enzymes

  • Chair: David Adams & Roger Summers
    David Adams David Adams is currently Professor and Director of the Health Innovations Research Institute at RMIT University, Melbourne. He was previously Professor and Chair of Physiology at the University of Queensland, Head of Department of Physiology & Pharmacology (1998-2000), Head of the School of Biomedical Sciences (2000-07) and Professorial Research Fellow in the Queensland Brain Institute (2008-09). He is an ARC Australian Professorial Fellow (2010-14) and a Chief Investigator on an NHMRC Program Grant (2005-14) to identify novel pain therapeutics based on venom peptides (conotoxins) from cone snails. His research focuses on the function and modulation of membrane receptors and ion channels and, in particular, nicotinic acetylcholine receptors and voltage-gated calcium channels. The study of the mechanism of action of conotoxins has led to their use as selective probes of ion channel structure and function and their development as potential therapeutic agents for the treatment of chronic and neuropathic pain. David has published 145 refereed journal articles (90 as first or senior author) in leading international physiology, pharmacology and neuroscience journals and 15 book chapters He is the past President of the Australian Physiological Society (AuPS; 2004-10), a former member of the National Committee for Biomedical Science, Australian Academy of Science (2005-09) and a member of three Editorial Boards of international scientific journals.
    Roger Summers Roger Summers is Professor of Molecular Pharmacology and Theme Leader, Drug Discovery Biology at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Fellow of the British Pharmacological Society and PhD honoris causa Stockholm University. His research interests include ligand-directed signalling bias whereby different ligands acting at the same receptor can activate a particular spectrum of signalling pathways and the role of receptor scaffolding protein complexes in GPCR function and is supported by the NHMRC and ARC. Recipient of the David Syme Research Prize; ASCEPT/BPS Visiting Lectureship; Kathleen & Lovat Fraser Award of the NHF; Swedish RC Tage Erlander Visiting Professorship; Toho University Visiting Professorship, ASCEPT Life membership and Michael Rand Medal.
  • Speakers:
Roger Summers
John Miners
Joe Lynch Joe Lynch Joe Lynch completed a BSc in Physics at the University of Melbourne. He subsequently completed a M.Biomed.E. and a Ph.D. at the University of NSW. Following postdoctoral periods in Germany, France and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, he moved to University of QLD in 1996 as a Senior Lecturer in the School of Biomedical Sciences. He was awarded an NHMRC Research Fellowship in 2004 (renewed in 2009) and relocated to the QBI in 2007. His major research interests concern the molecular structure and function of the glycine and GABA-A inhibitory neurotransmitter ion channels.
David Adams

The role of inflammation in the development of respiratory related disorders

  • Chair: Jane Pillow & Gavin Pinniger
    Gavin Pinniger Gavin Pinniger Dr Gavin Pinniger (Co-Chair & speaker): After obtaining his PhD in Biomedical Science from the University of Wollongong (2002), Dr Pinniger was awarded a Travelling Research Fellowship from The Wellcome Trust to undertake a post-doctoral appointment at the University of Bristol, UK. He is currently Assistant Professor in Physiology, School of Biomedical, Biomolecular and Chemical Sciences, UWA. Dr Pinniger’s research focuses on the physiological evaluation of skeletal muscle function. He is currently investigating the contribution of inflammatory cytokines and reactive oxygen species to skeletal muscle weakness and the impact of clinically relevant antenatal exposures such as glucocorticoids, inflammation and oxidative stress on foetal diaphragm function.
  • Speakers:
Graeme Zosky Graeme Zosky Dr Graeme Zosky is a Research Fellow and Head of the Lung Growth and Respiratory Environmental Health Group at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research. He has an undergraduate degree in Zoology (1999) and a PhD in Zoology/Physiology (2003) from the University of Western Australia. He has since completed a Masters in Biostatistics at the University of Sydney (2010). His research focuses on the role of early life exposures in the development of chronic lung disease in later life. He is also an international leader in the design and application of techniques for assessing lung mechanics in animal models.
Peter Henry Peter Henry Peter Henry is a graduate of UWA, completing a PhD in Pharmacology. Following a post-doctoral period at the University of Melbourne, he returned to UWA. He was awarded an NHMRC RD Wright Fellowship for New Investigators, and then appointed to the NHMRC Fellowships Scheme as a Research Fellow. In 2001, Peter was appointed to an academic teaching and research position within the Pharmacology at UWA. He has spent over 20 years investigating novel pathways that protect the lungs from the injurious effects of airborne allergens, respiratory tract viruses, bacterial products and environmental toxins. These studies have typically involved collaborations with scientists from international pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions, and have been extensively funded by the NHMRC.
Peter McFawn Peter McFawn I completed my PhD in 1997 at the University of Western Australia working on developmental changes in bronchial compliance and airway responsiveness using isolated bronchial segments. After working at Queen’s University in Canada for four years on quantitative bronchoscopy and calcium sensitisation of airway smooth muscle I returned to Perth in 2002 as an academic staff member at The University of Western Australia. My current research interests focus on the bronchodilator effects of deep inspiration (DI) where by taking a deep breath in causes bronchodilation in healthy people a response that fails or is impaired in both asthma and chronic obstructive disease. Fortunately we have a productive collaboration with clinical colleges at the Queen Elisabeth II Medical Centre allowing us to obtain human lung samples from patients who are undergoing lung resection to treat lung cancer. I am also an associate editor for the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology.
Timothy Moss

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