Baker Department of Cardiovascular Research, Translation and Implementation Leadership

The Baker Department of Cardiovascular Research, Translation and Implementation is led by a team of cardiovascular experts who are passionate about understanding and preventing chronic disease.

Professor Peter Meikle

Professor Peter Meikle is Head of the Baker Department of Cardiovascular Research, Translation and Implementation, and Head of the Systems Biology Domain, Co-Lead of the Obesity and Lipids Program and Head of the Metabolomics Laboratory at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute. He has worked in metabolomics and lipidomics for over 25 years and is a National Health and Medical Research Council L3 Investigator Fellow and Co-Director of the Australian Cardiovascular Alliance, Precision Medicine Flagship.

Professor Meikle’s research uses state-of-the-art tandem mass spectrometry to obtain metabolic profiles from cell and animal models in addition to clinical and population-based cohorts. These data are integrated with genomic and clinical datasets to define how the environmental and genetic influence on our metabolism contributes to, and protects from, cardiometabolic disease. This approach is providing an improved understanding of disease mechanisms leading to new biomarkers for improved diagnosis and risk assessment, as well as new therapeutic strategies to prevent and treat a range of metabolic diseases.

Professor Meikle has over 280 publications (>110 publications in the past five years). His research is supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Medical Research Future Fund, the National Heart Foundation (Australia) and the National Institutes of Health (USA).

Professor Brian Oldenburg

Professor Brian Oldenburg is Professor of Public Health and Implementation Science at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute and La Trobe University. He is Director of the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Centre of Research Excellence in Digital Technology to Transform Australia’s Chronic Disease Outcomes.

Professor Oldenburg specialises in changing health behaviours, and the primary and secondary prevention of chronic conditions including diabetes and heart disease. He has pioneered many technology platforms and digital health solutions to improve chronic disease outcomes in Australia and internationally. He is also a global expert in implementation research.

Professor Oldenburg’s research has been continuously funded for 40 years. He has published over 90 papers in the last five years in top ranking journals in public health, clinical medicine, epidemiology and digital health.

Professor Judy de Haan

Professor Judy de Haan is a Baker Fellow and Head of the Cardiovascular Inflammation and Redox Biology Laboratory at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, with adjunct appointments at La Trobe, Swinburne, Monash and Melbourne universities. She is an elected member of the Drug Discovery Flagship of the Australian Cardiovascular Alliance and Director of the Australian Atherosclerosis Society.

With over 4,500 citations and more than 90 career publications, Professor de Haan’s research focuses on improving the lives of diabetic patients by reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease. Her focus on identifying novel therapies aimed at lowering oxidative stress and inflammation is yielding new areas for drug discovery. These preclinical studies are important in understanding how to better tackle diabetes-driven cardiovascular complications.

Associate Professor Xiaowei Wang

Associate Professor Xiaowei Wang heads the Molecular Imaging and Theranostics Laboratory at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute. She has received two National Health Federation Fellowships (future leader and postdoctoral), both awarded with the prestigious Paul Korner Innovation Award.

Associate Professor Wang specialises in advanced molecular imaging technologies, side effect-free drug/gene deliveries and novel theranostic (concurrent diagnosis/therapy) strategies. She is the President of the Federation of Asian Societies of Molecular Imaging and a member of the Women in Molecular Imaging Network Leadership Committee.

At the community level, Associate Professor Wang co-founded a not-for-profit makerspace (open to the public), with her mission to foster scientific interest in the younger generation, particularly women and diverse individuals. She was recently named one of the ‘40 under 40’ most influential Asian Australians.

Associate Professor Alex Pinto

Associate Professor Alex Pinto is Head of the Cardiac Cellular Systems Laboratory at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute and is co-appointed by the Baker Institute and La Trobe University. His research examines how the network of cells that form the heart contribute to the development of heart failure, and how extra-cardiac tissues and factors in the blood regulate this network.

A major area of focus is to understand how hypertension, obesity and diabetes alters the heart, and whether these alterations are reversible. To achieve his research goals, Associate Professor Pinto uses cutting-edge computational biology, single-cell omics, 3D imaging and genetic technologies.

Some of his research highlights include the first characterisation of macrophages in the mammalian heart, the first survey of mammalian cardiac cellular composition and the first single-cell transcriptomic analysis of cardiac non-myocytes. Associate Professor Pinto’s team collaborates with other laboratories in Australia, the United States and Europe.

Associate Professor David Greening

Associate Professor David Greening is Head of the Molecular Proteomics Group and Head of the Proteomic Platform at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute. His research uses mass spectrometry-based proteomics to understand cell signalling and cellular reprogramming, and development of extracellular vesicles as a diagnostic and therapeutic delivery strategy for various conditions including heart disease.

Associate Professor Greening has made important contributions internationally to the field of extracellular vesicles, defining bioactive composition, their subtypes (including exosomes), surface membrane composition and developments as engineered therapeutics.

He has 97 career publications, a field-weight impact of 10.4 and over 11,000 career citations (19 with >100 citations; 95 average citations/article). He is President of the Australia and New Zealand Society for Extracellular Vesicles and was awarded Australian Field Leader in Proteomics (2020). His research is supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council, Medical Research Future Fund, the National Heart Foundation, and partnerships with industry and commercial networks.

Dr Chris Lynch

Dr Chris Lynch is Graduate Research Coordinator in for the Baker Department of Cardiovascular Research, Translation and Implementation. As a passionate educator, Chris supports the development of graduate researchers, focusing on candidate experience and success, and aims to create and foster an intellectual climate which supports both candidates and supervisors.

Dr Lynch’s research focuses on the intersection of digital health and chronic disease management, understanding how recovery and survivorship can be enhanced using eHealth technologies to better ‘self-manage'; that is, how individuals can use technology to monitor their symptoms, adhere to medication regimes, engage in positive diet and exercise behaviours, and better manage symptoms by either changing behaviours or seeking appropriate assistance.

Dr Alin Rai

Dr Alin Rai is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute. His research has examined extracellular vesicle form and function (he discovered a new class of vesicles secreted by cancer cells) in cancer biology and reproductive biology.

His current research focuses on benchmarking extracellular vesicle isolation from human plasma and their characterisation using mass spectrometry (proteomics and lipidomics) to identify important biomarkers of heart disease.

Dr Rai has published over 20 papers in highly regarded journals (>1,700 citations), with his work widely cited in medicine/physiology.