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Health Sciences profile

Professor Alison Heather

PositionProfessor
DepartmentDepartment of Physiology
Research summaryAtherosclerosis

Research

My research focuses on how the sex hormones, estrogen and testosterone, affect non-reproductive tissues in the body. My primary research investigates how these sex hormones promote calcification of atherosclerotic plaques. Atherosclerosis is the major cardiovascular disease and calcification of plaques leads to more ruptures causing heart attacks and strokes. The work performed in my laboratory is aimed at improving the understanding and safety of hormone replacement treatment use.

My research team also develops bioassays for the detection of designer androgens and estrogens that are used as doping agents in sports.

Publications

Cooper, E. R., McGrath, K. C. Y., Li, X., & Heather, A. K. (2017). Androgen bioassay for the detection of non-labeled androgenic compounds in nutritional supplements. International Journal of Sport Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.2017-0018

Cooper, E. R., McGrath, K. C. Y., Li, X., Akram, O., Kasz, R., Kazlauskas, R., … Heather, A. K. (2017). The use of tandem yeast and mammalian cell in vitro androgen bioassays to detect androgens in internet-sourced sport supplements. Drug Testing & Analysis, 9(4), 545-552. doi: 10.1002/dta.2000

McRobb, L. S., McGrath, K. C. Y., Tsatralis, T., Liong, E. C., Tan, J. T. M., Hughes, G., … Heather, A. K. (2017). Estrogen receptor control of atherosclerotic calcification and smooth muscle cell osteogenic differentiation. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, & Vascular Biology, 37(6), 1127-1137. doi: 10.1161/atvbaha.117.309054

Ebenebe, O. V., Heather, A., & Erickson, J. R. (2017). CaMKII in vascular signalling: “Friend or foe”? Heart, Lung & Circulation. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.hlc.2017.12.003

Denny, A. P., & Heather, A. K. (2017). Are antioxidants a potential therapy for FSHD? A review of the literature. Oxidative Medicine & Cellular Longevity, 7020295. doi: 10.1155/2017/7020295

Chapter in Book - Research

Heather, A., & McGrath, K. (2012). Cardiovascular disease and inflammation. In M. Garg & L. Wood (Eds.), Nutrition and physical activity in inflammatory diseases. (pp. 243-259). Cabi.

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Journal - Research Article

Cooper, E. R., McGrath, K. C. Y., Li, X., & Heather, A. K. (2017). Androgen bioassay for the detection of non-labeled androgenic compounds in nutritional supplements. International Journal of Sport Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.2017-0018

McRobb, L. S., McGrath, K. C. Y., Tsatralis, T., Liong, E. C., Tan, J. T. M., Hughes, G., … Heather, A. K. (2017). Estrogen receptor control of atherosclerotic calcification and smooth muscle cell osteogenic differentiation. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, & Vascular Biology, 37(6), 1127-1137. doi: 10.1161/atvbaha.117.309054

Cooper, E. R., McGrath, K. C. Y., Li, X., Akram, O., Kasz, R., Kazlauskas, R., … Heather, A. K. (2017). The use of tandem yeast and mammalian cell in vitro androgen bioassays to detect androgens in internet-sourced sport supplements. Drug Testing & Analysis, 9(4), 545-552. doi: 10.1002/dta.2000

Geronimo, F. R. B., Barter, P. J., Rye, K. A., Heather, A. K., Shearston, K. D., & Rodgers, K. J. (2016). Plaque stabilizing effects of apolipoprotein A-IV. Atherosclerosis, 251, 39-46. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2016.04.019

Cawley, A. T., Blakey, K., Waller, C. C., McLeod, M. D., Boyd, S., Heather, A., … Willis, A. C. (2016). Detection and metabolic investigations of a novel designer steroid: 3-chloro-17α-methyl-5α-androstan-17β-ol. Drug Testing & Analysis, 8(7), 621-632. doi: 10.1002/dta.1832

McGrath, K. C. Y., Li, X.-H., McRobb, L. S., & Heather, A. K. (2015). Inhibitory effect of a French maritime pine bark extract-based nutritional supplement on TNF-α-induced inflammation and oxidative stress in human coronary artery endothelial cells. Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 2015, 260530. doi: 10.1155/2015/260530

Brown, B. E., Kim, C. H. J., Torpy, F. R., Bursill, C. A., McRobb, L. S., Heather, A. K., … van Reyk, D. M. (2014). Supplementation with carnosine decreases plasma triglycerides and modulates atherosclerotic plaque composition in diabetic apo E-/- mice. Atherosclerosis, 232(2), 403-409. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2013.11.068

McGrath, K. C., Li, X. H., Whitworth, P. T., Kasz, R., Tan, J. T., McLennan, S. V., … Heather, A. K. (2014). High density lipoproteins improve insulin sensitivity in high-fat diet-fed mice by suppressing hepatic inflammation. Journal of Lipid Research, 55(3), 421-430. doi: 10.1194/jlr.M043281

Lim, H. Y., Chiam, C. H., Yeo, K. P., Bisoendial, R., Hii, C. S., McGrath, K. C. Y., … Heather, A., … Angeli, V. (2013). Lymphatic vessels are essential for the removal of cholesterol from peripheral tissues by SR-BI-Mediated transport of HDL. Cell Metabolism, 17(5), 671-684. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2013.04.002

Cooper, E. R., McGrath, K. C. Y., & Heather, A. K. (2013). In vitro androgen bioassays as a detection method for designer androgens. Sensors, 13(2), 2148-2163. doi: 10.3390/s130202148

Li, X.-H., McGrath, K. C. Y., Tran, V. H., Li, Y.-M., Duke, C. C., Roufogalis, B. D., & Heather, A. K. (2013). Attenuation of proinflammatory responses by S-[6]-gingerol via inhibition of ROS/NF-Kappa B/COX2 activation in HuH7 cells. Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 2013, 146142. doi: 10.1155/2013/146142

Li, X.-H., McGrath, K. C. Y., Tran, V. H., Li, Y.-M., Mandadi, S., Duke, C. C., Heather, A. K., & Roufogalis, B. D. (2013). Identification of a calcium signalling pathway of S-[6]-gingerol in HuH-7 cells. Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 2013, 951758. doi: 10.1155/2013/951758

Li, X.-H., McGrath, K. C.-Y., Nammi, S., Heather, A. K., & Roufogalis, B. D. (2012). Attenuation of liver pro-inflammatory responses by Zingiber officinale via inhibition of NF-kappa B activation in high-fat diet-fed rats. Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology, 110(3), 238-244. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-7843.2011.00791.x

Di Bartolo, B. A., Nicholls, S. J., Bao, S., Rye, K.-A., Heather, A. K., Barter, P. J., & Bursill, C. (2011). The apolipoprotein A-I mimetic peptide ETC-642 exhibits anti-inflammatory properties that are comparable to high density lipoproteins. Atherosclerosis, 217(2), 395-400. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2011.04.001

Akram, O. N., Bursill, C., Desai, R., Heather, A. K., Kaslzuskas, R., Handelsman, D. J., & Lambert, G. (2011). Evaluation of androgenic activity of nutraceutical-derived steroids using mammalian and yeast in vitro androgen bioassays. Analytical Chemistry, 83(6), 2065-2074. doi: 10.1021/ac102845y

Moheimani, F., Tan, J. T. M., Brown, B. E., Heather, A. K., van Reyk, D. M., & Davies, M. J. (2011). Effect of exposure of human monocyte-derived macrophages to high, versus normal, glucose on subsequent lipid accumulation from glycated and acetylated low-density lipoproteins. Experimental Diabetes Research, 2011, 851280. doi: 10.1155/2011/851280

Lane, A. E., Tan, J. T. M., Hawkins, C. L., Heather, A. K., & Davies, M. J. (2010). The myeloperoxidase-derived oxidant HOSCN inhibits protein tyrosine phosphatases and modulates cell signalling via the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway in macrophages. Biochemical Journal, 430(1), 161-169. doi: 10.1042/BJ20100082

Patel, S., Di Bartolo, B. A., Nakhla, S., Heather, A. K., Mitchell, T. W., Jessup, W., … Rye, K.-A. (2010). Anti-inflammatory effects of apolipoprotein A-I in the rabbit. Atherosclerosis, 212(2), 392-397. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2010.05.035

Bursill, C. A., Castro, M. L., Beattie, D. T., Nakhla, S., van der Vorst, E., Heather, A. K., … Rye, K.-A. (2010). High-density lipoproteins suppress chemokines and chemokine receptors in vitro and in vivo. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, & Vascular Biology, 30(9), 1773-1778. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.110.211342

Fryirs, M. A., Barter, P. J., Appavoo, M., Tuch, B. E., Tabet, F., Heather, A. K., & Rye, K.-A. (2010). Effects of high-density lipoproteins on pancreatic β-cell insulin secretion. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, & Vascular Biology, 30(8), 1642-1648. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.110.207373

Sieveking, D. P., Lim, P., Chow, R. W. Y., Dunn, L. L., Bao, S., McGrath, K. C. Y., Heather, A. K., … Ng, M. K. C. (2010). A sex-specific role for androgens in angiogenesis. Journal of Experimental Medicine, 207(2), 345-352. doi: 10.1084/jem.20091924

McRobb, L., Handelsman, D. J., & Heather, A. K. (2009). Androgen-induced progression of arterial calcification in apolipoprotein E-null mice is uncoupled from plaque growth and lipid levels. Endocrinology, 150(2), 841-848. doi: 10.1210/en.2008-0760

McGrath, K. C. Y., Li, X. H., Puranik, R., Liong, E. C., Tan, J. T. M., Dy, V. M., … Heather, A. K. (2009). Role of 3β-hydroxysteroid-Δ24 reductase in mediating antiinflammatory effects of high-density lipoproteins in endothelial cells. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, & Vascular Biology, 29(6), 877-882. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.109.184663

Lind, J. M., Chiu, C., Ingles, J., Yeates, L., Humphries, S. E., Heather, A. K., & Semsarian, C. (2008). Sex hormone receptor gene variation associated with phenotype in male hypertrophic cardiomyopathy patients. Journal of Molecular & Cellular Cardiology, 45(2), 217-222. doi: 10.1016/j.yjmcc.2008.05.016

McGrath, K.-C. Y., McRobb, L. S., & Heather, A. K. (2008). Androgen therapy and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Vascular Health & Risk Management, 4(1), 11-21. doi: 10.2147/vhrm.2008.04.01.11

McRobb, L., Handelsman, D. J., Kazlauskas, R., Wilkinson, S., McLeod, M. D., & Heather, A. K. (2008). Structure—activity relationships of synthetic progestins in a yeast-based in vitro androgen bioassay. Journal of Steroid Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, 110(1-2), 39-47. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2007.10.008

Handelsman, D. J., & Heather, A. (2008). Androgen abuse in sports. Asian Journal of Andrology, 10(3), 403-415. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-7262.2008.00406.x

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Journal - Research Other

Ebenebe, O. V., Heather, A., & Erickson, J. R. (2017). CaMKII in vascular signalling: “Friend or foe”? Heart, Lung & Circulation. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.hlc.2017.12.003

Denny, A. P., & Heather, A. K. (2017). Are antioxidants a potential therapy for FSHD? A review of the literature. Oxidative Medicine & Cellular Longevity, 7020295. doi: 10.1155/2017/7020295

McGrath, K. C. Y., & Heather, A. K. (2012). Endoplasmic reticulum stress in inflammatory disease. Endocrinology, 153(7), 2949-2952. doi: 10.1210/en.2012-1478

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