ABI project awarded $1million HRC grant

12 September 2011

Among the 20 projects funded in the latest HRC round is a project led by Associate Professor Denis Loiselle from the Auckland Bioengineering Institute (ABI) and Department of Physiology that aims to increase the understanding of heart failure among diabetics. Dr Loiselle and his project team, which includes senior lecturer Andrew Taberner from the ABI and the Department of Engineering Science, senior lecturer Tony Hickey from the School of Biological Sciences (SBS) and ABI postgraduate candidate June-Chiew Han, have received a grant of just over $1million for the three year project. The team will test the hypothesis that diabetic heart failure reflects progressively declining efficiency of both the cardiac pump and its energy-generating mitochondrial machinery – the powerhouse parts of human cells. “We are looking at the efficiency with which the heart converts oxygen and glucose into mechanical energy under different workloads. We think the reason a diabetic heart can no longer pump as much blood as a normal heart, even in the face of adequate energy supply, is because its efficiency of converting metabolic energy to pressure-volume work is impaired,” says Dr Loiselle. The project, which starts in November, will compare the energetics of a diabetic heart with that of a healthy heart. A diabetic heart is larger in size but less able to pump blood around the body compared to a healthy heart. The project aims to increase our understanding of the diabetic heart across the complete spectrum from whole organ to cellular and sub-cellular components. The University of Auckland received nearly $26 million of HRC funding, including almost $10 million for two new long-term programmes investigating neurological and cardiovascular diseases.

Contact:

Vaneesa Bellew Communications Adviser Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Education and the Auckland Bioengineering Institute (ABI) The University of Auckland T: +64 373 7599 ext. 88337