Bringing cardiovascular and lipidomics expertise to new role

Dr Yow Keat Tham has commenced a three-year role as a Baker-La Trobe Research Fellow

Dr Yow Keat Tham has recently started a three-year role as a Baker-La Trobe Research Fellow through the Baker Department of Cardiovascular Research, Translation and Implementation at La Trobe University. He has been honing his skills in preclinical cardiovascular disease (CVD) research using different genetic and experimental mouse models and now he’s bringing these key skills to a new role with the Baker Institute and La Trobe University.

Yow Keat is based in the Baker Institute’s Metabolomics lab where he is focusing on lipidomics and new therapeutic strategies using mouse models of CVD. He is also helping foster and support new and existing collaborations between the Institute and the university.

Much of Yow Keat’s early research career was spent looking at the enlarged athlete’s heart, shown to be beneficial for our health, and comparing it to diseased hearts in preclinical models. During his PhD, Yow Keat demonstrated that there were distinctive cardiac and circulating lipid profiles in mouse models which underwent an exercise training protocol versus heart failure/disease. He further showed that modulating different lipid species in the heart via a variety of therapeutic strategies may have an effect on cardiac health.

As a senior research officer in the Cardiac Hypertrophy lab, his main research focus explored the role of specific lipids in cardio-protection and heart disease, and whether the manipulation of these lipids could serve as new therapies for heart failure. This was achieved by combining the use of in vivo mouse models, clinical cohorts, molecular biology approaches and lipidomic profiling via mass spectrometry.

Most recently, Yow Keat has been working on lipidomic research funded by a National Heart Foundation Vanguard Grant looking at how a dietary supplement could modulate a specific type of lipid called plasmalogens in the heart to reverse heart failure in a genetic model of dilated cardiomyopathy.

With strong preclinical expertise, he hopes to provide a valuable resource and network for researchers at both organisations.

Yow Keat also plays an active role in the CVD early career research community. He recently co-chaired the International Society for Heart Research (ISHR) Australasian section and World Congress ECI Committee, and now serves as ISHR general council member. In addition, he is a member of the Baker ECS committee and mentoring committee.

When he’s not in the lab, Yow Keat can be found running or cycling.