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Our people in the Christchurch Heart Institute

Clinical Research

Professor Mark Richards

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Mark Richards is the director of the Christchurch Heart Institute.

He coordinates and directs multi-disciplinary programmes of grant-funded translational cardiovascular research which seek to improve diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic options in heart disease.

He is pursuing studies of epidemiological, molecular biological, neurohormonal and therapeutic aspects of acute and chronic cardiovascular disorders including hypertension, coronary syndromes, and the full spectrum of heart failure.

Richards holds the Heart Foundation of New Zealand’s Chair in Cardiovascular Studies.

He also holds joint appointments at the University of Otago and the National University of Singapore’s Cardiovascular Research Institute.

Professor Richard Troughton

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Richard Troughton is a consultant cardiologist and co-director of the clinical section of the Christchurch Heart Institute.

As well as participating in studies conducted by the CHI he has specific interests in the assessment of cardiac function, cardiac imaging and heart failure.

Professor Eric Espiner

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As a clinical endocrinologist, Eric Espiner's research has focused on the role of hormones regulating blood pressure and salt balance, with particular reference to the natriuretic peptides.

Now an emeritus professor of the University of Otago, Christchurch, he is currently studying C type natriuretic peptide (CNP) and how new approaches to measuring its production can illuminate this ancestral hormone's role in human disorders, including cardiovascular disease.

Molecular Biology and Genetics

Research Professor Vicky Cameron

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Vicky Cameron's research focus is the influence of genes on the underlying pathology of heart disease.

She has a multidisciplinary portfolio of research, from identifying genetic variants associated with increased mortality in New Zealand heart disease patients to using DNA microarray of human hearts to determine how cardiac cell signalling contributes to poor heart function.

She is also a lead investigator in The Community Heart Study, documenting levels of heart disease, cardiovascular risk factors and diabetes in Maori communities.

Translational Biodiscovery

Research Associate Professor Chris Pemberton

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Chris is the Director of the Translational Biodiscovery Laboratory which provides assay services of over 30 targets for CHI projects, as well as national and international collaborators.

Major activities of the lab concern the identification of new biomarkers for disease diagnosis, assay development, peptide/protein biochemistry studies and the in vitro/ex vivo physiological study of cardiovascular agents.

The lab currently comprises 4 scientists, 2 PhD students and 9 technicians and is well equipped with Luminex, ELISA, HPLC, cell culture and isolated heart facilities.

Research Associate Professor Tim Yandle

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Tim Yandle is a biochemist and senior member of the Christchurch Heart Institute.

He established the CHI biochemistry laboratory that provides analytical support for many of the Institute’s research studies.

His research interests include the identification of secreted and circulating forms of peptide hormones and their metabolism.

These studies have identified new peptides in blood that are now used to diagnose heart disease.

Physiology

Research Professor Chris Charles

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Chris Charles performs pre-clinical physiology studies aimed at elucidating the role of novel hormones in controlling blood pressure, salt and water balance and heart function both in normal physiology and heart disease.

He also has a particular interest in sympathetic nerve traffic directed to the heart and the role this plays in myocardial infarction and sudden cardiac death.

New knowledge gained from these physiological studies not only increases our understanding of how the heart, hormones and nerves interact but underpins the search for novel therapeutic agents for the treatment of lethal cardiovascular diseases.

Research Associate Professor Miriam Rademaker

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Miriam Rademaker is a physiologist whose work bridges the gap between the in vitro and clinical investigative Divisions of the Christchurch Heart Institute.

Her research focus is the role that hormones concerned with the control of blood pressure and volume play in the pathophysiology of cardiovascular diseases such as heart failure.

Particular emphasis is directed at ways of manipulating these underlying hormone systems in order to prevent and treat these diseases.