Research Leaders

Conjoint Associate Professor James Leitch

Clinical Research

Associate Professor James (Jim) Leitch was born and raised in Armidale NSW. He studied medicine at Sydney University and completed medical internship, residency and general medical training at Royal Newcastle Hospital. Currently he is head of the cardiology department at John Hunter Hospital.
He is an author of more than 81 peer reviewed articles/book chapters and is a clinical Associate Professor at the University of Newcastle.
Dr Leitch’s future focus is improving access to high cost and specialised treatments of cardiac arrhythmia in rural and regional areas.

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Associate Professor Aaron Sverdlov

Translational Research

Associate Professor Aaron Sverdlov is a cardiologist and researcher who has recently returned from spending 3 years at the Boston University School of Medicine as an NHMRC Fellow. He received his medical degree (MBBS) from the University of Adelaide, Australia in 2000.

Over 50% of the Australian population is obese, and a third has metabolic syndrome, or diabetes. Less well appreciated is that patients with metabolic disease manifest heart disease (MHD). Associate Professor Sverdlov aims to examine the mechanism(s) of diet-induced obesity and metabolic impairment in the pathogenesis of MHD.

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Conjoint Professor Tony Quail

Translational Research

Conjoint Professor Tony Quail's major research interests are cardiovascular and pulmonary physiology including exercise physiology.  In particular, how these complex systems are controlled and integrated in the central nervous system and what factors modulate them.

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Professor Dirk Van Helden

Fundamental Science Research

Professor Dirk van Helden is a senior researcher with the University of Newcastle’s Priority Clinical Centre for Cardiovascular Health (PCC CVH) and is the co-leader of the HMRI Cardiovascular program.
Specific research interests include heart pacemaking, the lymphatic system, vascular mechanisms including the role of the capillary endothelium and pericytes in various organs (heart, gastrointestinal tract, brain, lung) and brain cardiovascular and neuronal mechanisms in health and disease.

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Associate Professor Doan Ngo

Translational Research

Associate Professor Doan Ngo graduated from the University of South Australia as a pharmacist (B. Pharm). Her PhD was completed at the Basil Hetzel Institute, TQEH and her research focussed on the pathogenesis of aortic valve disease and involved both clinical and translational research, including animal in vivo studies.

Obesity is highly prevalent in our society, affecting 3 out of 5 Australians. The most alarming statistics relate to the significant rise of overweight/obesity prevalence in the young adolescent population, with obesity-related complications such as diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases presenting decades earlier. Associate Professor Ngo's research focus is in obesity and its cardiometabolic complications with her central hypothesis being that impaired blood vessel function obese fat contributes to metabolic impairment.

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Dr Lucy Murtha

Translational Research

Dr Murtha is a Postdoctoral Research Scholar in the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Newcastle. Dr Murtha’s current research interests involve understanding the molecular mechanisms of cardiac fibrosis, a devastating consequence of almost every cardiac disease, of which treatment options are inadequate. She is interested in using pre-clinical models of cardiovascular disease to find effective ways of reversing the devastating effects heart scarring.

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