School of Health and Life Sciences

Cardiovascular diseases

Research field: Cardiovascular diseases

Key words: atherosclerosis, heart hypertrophy, abdominal aortic aneurysm, cholesterol efflux

Supervisor: Yutang Wang

Email: Yutang.wang@federation.edu.au

Phone: 5327 9394

Brief Supervisor Bio

Yutang Wang specialises in the research field of sympathetic nerves and cardiovascular diseases. His research areas include sympathetic nerve functions, hypertension, atherosclerosis, abdominal aortic aneurysm, stroke and heart failure

Project 1: Treatment of atherosclerosis after renal denervation in mice

Hypertension is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, and decreasing blood pressure can save lives. Disconnecting the nerves in the kidney (renal denervation) has shown to low pressure in humans. However, renal denervation may also increase atherosclerosis, a disease associated with inflammation. This project, funded by an NHMRC project grant, will investigate whether inhibition of inflammation by atorvastatin and aspirin decreases atherosclerosis after renal denervation in mice. This project involves surgery in mice, blood pressure measurement, histology, immunohistochemistry and biochemical analysis.

Project 2: Molecular mechanisms of hydralazine in decreasing heart hypertrophy

Our preliminary data showed that hydralazine, a blood-pressure-lowering drug inhibited heart hypertrophy in hypertensive mice. This project aims to investigate the underlying molecular mechanism. HL-1 cardiac muscle cells and harvested mouse hearts will be used. The techniques involved include cell culture, histology, immunohistochemistry, western blot and quantitative-PCR.

Project 3: Establishment of a cellular model of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA)

Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) affects about 5% men and 1% women who are over 65 years. No pharmacological treatments are currently available, due to limited understanding of the pathogenesis of the disease and limited animal/cellular models mimicking human AAA. Epidemiological evidence shows that smoking is a major risk factor for AAA. This project will investigate the effect of acrolein (a toxic compound from the cigarette smoke) on vascular smooth muscle cells, to establish a cellular model of AAA. The techniques involved include cell culture, immunohistochemistry, western blot and quantitative-PCR.

Project 4: The effect of antihypertensive drugs on cholesterol efflux

Atherosclerosis is the major underlying mechanism for stroke and heart attack. Treatment of atherosclerosis can protect us from these diseases. Atherosclerosis is characterised by the build-up of cholesterol in the arteries. However, most research on atherosclerosis focuses on inflammation. One under-investigated area for atherosclerosis is the imbalance of cholesterol in the arteries.  This project will investigate the effect of several antihypertensive drugs, which can inhibit atherosclerosis, on cholesterol efflux from aortic smooth muscle cells. The techniques involved include cell culture, confocal microscopy, biochemical analysis, and quantitative-PCR.