Club supports Cardiac Research via key Harvard collaborations

Harvard Club of Australia is proud of its association with  Sydney’s Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, most recently awarding a Fellowship to Professor Calum MacRae, a distinguished cardiology researcher and clinician from Harvard Medical School.

Cardiovascular disease is the world’s leading cause of death. When it comes to fighting it, VCCRI stands in the front row of change agents. In one or more of its forms, the disease claims the life of an Australian every 12 minutes; it can affect anybody, irrespective of age or gender. Labelled Australia’s most expensive disease, it currently costs us more than $7.6 billion in healthcare expenditure annually. VCCRI is dedicated to finding cures for it.

To date, our Club has awarded three Fellowships to VCCRI’s cause. Professor MacRae was a special invitee to VCCRI’s signal international event last December, the newly rebadged Sydney Cardiovascular Symposium, now bigger and better with the collaborative sponsorship of the Heart Research Institute. By delivering its annual Princesses’ Lecture, MacRae followed a stellar cast of  the world’s leading clinicians and scientists. (The Lecture is named for Princesses Mary and Diana, both of whom were strong supporters of the Institute’s research.) Professor MacRae is the Chief of Cardiovascular Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Associate Professor of Medicine at HMS. In addition to running a busy Cardiology department, he is actively engaged in clinical and basic research, and was catapulted to the spotlight on the world stage two years ago when he became the recipient of One Brave Idea, a one-off $75 million grant funded by the American Heart Association and others. His visionary research project looks at coronary artery disease and its consequences, with potential applications to a broad set of human diseases.

Professor MacRae’s recent visit fostered longstanding collaborative links between HMS and Australia, first established by interactions between Professor Bob Graham AO and Professor Christine Seidman at Mass. General Hospital. Seidman and her husband have been mentors and collaborators of VCCRI’s Professor Diane Fatkin for over 20 years. In 2012, our Club’s Foundation awarded Diane an Australia-Harvard Fellowship to undertake sabbatical studies in the Seidman Laboratory. She worked closely with Professor MacRae for nearly five years when they were both research fellows there, undertaking studies with results now firmly defined in prestigious journals.

Harvard Club’s association with VCCRI began in 2004, when the Club’s Foundation awarded an Australia-Harvard Fellowship to Professor Charles I. Berul, at that time the world leader in adapting mouse models to cardiology research conditions.

by John Turner

  Photo : (l-r) Professors Calum Macrae (HMS), Diane Fatkin (VCCRI), Bob Graham AO (VCCRI)  [Photo courtesy of VCCRI]

Photo: (l-r) Professors Calum Macrae (HMS), Diane Fatkin (VCCRI), Bob Graham AO (VCCRI)

[Photo courtesy of VCCRI]