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Director - Chairperson


Livia Hool completed her PhD as a Gaston Bauer Cardiovascular Fellow in the Cellular Electrophysiology Laboratory at the Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney in 1995. She was then awarded an American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship to work in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland.  Subsequently, with an NHMRC Peter Doherty Fellowship she returned to Australia and relocated to The University of Western Australia. She is Head of the Cardiovascular Electrophysiology Laboratory in the School of Human Sciences and has received continuous competitive funding from national and international granting bodies including the American Heart Association, Australian Research Council and National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC) since obtaining her PhD. Her research focuses on the role of calcium in the excitability of the heart and in the regulation of mitochondrial energetics, with an emphasis on designing therapy to prevent the development of cardiomyopathy and heart failure.

Professor Hool is an elected member of the World Council of International Society for Heart Research (ISHR) and President of ISHR Australasian Section (2013-16; 2016-19). She is a Fellow of the American Heart Association, a Fellow of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand and a Fellow of the International Society for Heart Research. She develops cardiovascular health policy internationally (ISHR World Council) and nationally with Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand as a member of Scientific Committee. She is a member of the Heart Foundation Research Committee. She has held numerous positions on university committees, society councils including World Congress scientific programming committees, grant review panels for WA Department of Health, ARC, Heart Foundation of Australia, NHMRC and Canadian Institutes for Health Research. She serves on the Editorial Boards of Journal of Physiology (London), Current Opinion in Physiology and Heart, Lung Circulation.

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Director - Secretary


Natalie Ward completed her PhD at the University of Western Australia in 2004. After completing a short postdoctoral position at UWA, supported by an Athelston & Amy Saw Fellowship, she was then awarded a NHMRC CJ Martin Postdoctoral Fellowship to work in the Department of Cardiology at the University of Massachusetts, USA. Following her 2 years in the USA, she returned to the University of Western Australia and held a National Heart Foundation Fellowship and a RPH Medical Research Foundation Fellowship. She now holds a Senior Research Fellow Position in the School of Public Health, Curtin University and maintains an Adjunct position in the Medical School at UWA and an Honorary Appointment in the Harry Perkins Institute for Medical Research. Her research focuses on the development and pathogenesis of vascular dysfunction and atherosclerosis, including lifestyle and nutrition interventions, lipid management, and the role of the gut microbiome. In addition to her research, Natalie is Treasurer of the Australian Atherosclerosis Society, a Scientific Advisory Board Member of the Australia New Zealand Alliance for Cardiovascular Trials, Mentor for the High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia, and Member of the Australian Cardiovascular Alliance and West Australian Health Translation Network. In addition to serving on grant review panels for the NHMRC and NHF, she is an Editorial Board Member for Scientific Reports, Oxidative Medicine & Cellular Longevity and Food & Function.


Director - Treasurer


Carl Schultz is Clinical Lead of the Catheter Laboratory and Director of Clinical Trials at Royal Perth Hospital, Department of Cardiology. He is also a Winthrop Professor at The University of Western Australia, School of Medicine and Pharmacology. His clinical interest is focussed on understanding more about heart attack patients, and how to provide them the best care. Professor Schultz’s research interests include addressing the current gap in health service processes for heart attack patients.





Markus Schlaich is a renal physician and a European Society of Hypertension (ESH) accredited hypertension specialist with a strong background in clinical research. His main scientific interests focus on pathophysiologic aspects of hypertension including the contribution of the sympathetic nervous system, the L-arginine/nitric oxide pathway, their interaction, and the involvement of the kidneys. Professor Schlaich has a specific interest in treatment modalities targeting the sympathetic nervous system and has contributed to the development of renal denervation as a novel therapeutic approach to hypertension.


Markus has been highly successful in attracting competitive grant funding and currently holds an NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship. He has authored more than 230 publications and book chapters in peer reviewed journals. For his work in the areas of hypertension, cardiorenal and metabolic disease he received 18 research prizes and awards including the Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Medical Research Translation.


Markus has served on the Executive Committee of the High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia for 6 years and is an elected member of the Council of the International Society of Hypertension, and a founding member of the ESH Working Group on Interventional Treatment of Hypertension. After relocating from Germany in 2006 he became Head of the “Neurovascular Hypertension & Kidney Disease Laboratory” and later on Division Head of the “Hypertension, Stress and Obesity” Program at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Research Institute in Melbourne. In July 2014 he has taken up the newly created and MRF funded “Dobney Chair in Clinical Research” at the Royal Perth Hospital and the University of Western Australia. As Head of the Dobney Hypertension Centre he and his interdisciplinary team strive to develop more effective therapies for hypertension and its adverse consequences.



Director – International Relations


Karen Chapman is Professor of Molecular Endocrinology in the Centre for Cardiovascular Science at the University of Edinburgh and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Australia. She joined the University of Edinburgh in 1991 from the MRC Brain Metabolism Unit in Edinburgh. Prior to that, she was supported by postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard University. She was awarded her PhD from the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. Her research is focussed on the actions of glucocorticoids, a class of steroid hormone with critical roles in stress, inflammation and fetal maturation. Her current research is focussed on the role of glucocorticoids in maturation of the fetal and neonatal cardiovascular system. She is a member of the UK Society for Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society of Australia and holds several Editorial positions. She has been a keen advocate of mentoring, postgraduate education and equality and diversity throughout her career.





Jonathan Hodgson is Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology and a Vice Chancellors Fellow at Edith Cowan University. He currently holds a National Health and Medical Research Council Senior Research Fellowship. He has over 20 years’ experience in research in Western Australia, first at the University of Western Australia, and since 2016 at Edith Cowan University. The primary objective of his research is to better understand the impact of particular diets and dietary components on measures and outcomes related to cardiovascular health. This is achieved through the use of randomised controlled trials and observational epidemiological studies, which are strongly supported by laboratory-based methods. Professor Hodgson’s research explores how specific dietary components, including nutrients and phytochemicals found in high levels in plant-based diets, and their food sources (primarily fruits, vegetables and grains) enhance vascular health. A key goal of the research is to establish the efficacy and importance of defined approaches to increasing the intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grains to enhance cardiovascular health.



Director - Early-Mid Career Investigator Representative & Membership


Dr Helena Viola is a cardiovascular biochemist with a 15 year track record in translatable cardiovascular research at the University of Western Australia. Dr Viola completed her PhD at the University of Western Australia in 2010 (Distinction, top-ranked university-wide). She is currently a Heart Foundation Future Leader Research Fellow. Throughout her career Dr Viola has won competitive funding to support her research, including a Heart Foundation / NHMRC Postgraduate Scholarship, Heart Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, and most recently, Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellowship and New Investigator NHMRC Project Grant. Her main research interest involves the development of preventative therapies for the treatment of ischemic heart disease and familial cardiomyopathies by targeting the cardiac L-type calcium channel.


Dr Viola is an early career investigator (ECI) representative for the International Society for Heart Research (ISHR), and founding member of the Australian Cardiovascular Alliance Emerging Leaders Committee. She has also holds several positions on university committees (UWA Research Integrity Adviser, UWA ECI Advisory Group Member), society committees (ISHR Australasian Section and World Congress ECI Organizing Committee Member), and review panels (Heart Foundation, NHMRC, Auckland Medical Research Foundation, Heart Lung Circulation, Journal of Physiology, London). 

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Director – Consumer Advocate


Pamela Byles is a healthy, active mother of four living in the south-west of Western Australia. Without any previous health condition there was no reason to suspect that there was any reason for concern on Easter morning 2014, but late that morning she suffered a rare form of heart attack known as  Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD). Pamela then set herself the task of finding as many other SCAD survivors as possible. What Pamela found was more people who felt alone and isolated. She has now sparked Australian research into SCAD. With TV appearances, magazine articles, and radio interviews now under her belt she wishes to share the realisation of not being alone for the survivors of SCAD. 


© 2019 by Western Australia Cardiovascular Research Alliance (WACRA)