Professor Stephen Harrap

Research Leader

University of Melbourne

Professor Stephen Harrap is Assistant Dean Biomedical Sciences and Professor of Physiology at the University of Melbourne.

He will be working with Federation University Australia's Professor Fadi Charchar in Element Two of the CRN: Regional Social and Educational Connectedness and Health Innovation.

Professor Harrap's research interests are in the genetics of common conditions, in particular cardiovascular disease.

This research work is done largely through population-based family studies but also involves experimental laboratory work as well.

In 1990 he established the Victorian Family Heart Study (VFHS) and after six years successfully recruited around 3000 healthy adults who comprised about 800 families. From this study important discoveries regarding blood pressure and other coronary risk factors have been published. He also established the Acute Myocardial Infarction Genetic Origins (AMIGO) Study looking at the genetics of heart attack (acute coronary syndrome). This was one of the first studies in the world to report genome wide linkage for this condition that remains the single most common cause of death. He developed a novel polygenic model of human cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure; the Hypertrophic Heart Rat, which is providing new cellular and genetic paradigms for this important human problem.

Professor Harrap also has major roles in multinational clinical trials of stroke prevention and cardiovascular protection in diabetes.

These resources and expertise contribute to the major Health Innovation components of Element Two of the CRN. The collaborative research has already resulted in national competitive grant funding and international presentation of important new data.