PROFESSOR LIVIA HOOL
PhD, FAHA, FCSANZ, FISHR, MAICD
Director - Chair
Professor Livia Hool is the Wesfarmers, UWA-VCCRI Chair in Cardiovascular Research and Director of the Ben Beale Laboratory in Cardiovascular Research at The University of Western Australia. Following completion of her PhD as a Gaston Bauer Cardiovascular Fellow in the Cellular Electrophysiology Laboratory at the Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, she was awarded an American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship to pursue further electrophysiology research 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 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 in inherited heart disease, with an emphasis on designing therapy to prevent the development of cardiomyopathy and heart failure.
Professor Hool is currently President of the Australian Physiological Society, Treasurer and executive member of the World Council of International Society for Heart Research (ISHR) and Past 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.
DR LAUREN GIUDICATTI
Lauren is a early career clinical cardiologist with special interest in cardiac imaging and adult congenital heart disease. She graduated from The University of Western Australia in 2013 and worked across several WA public hospital sites, completing advanced training in cardiology in 2021. She then pursued further fellowship training in echocardiography at Fiona Stanley Hospital and then in Adult Congenital Heart disease at The Prince Charles Hospital, Brisbane. She has been actively involved in education and cardiology trainee representation through positions as national trainee representative on the RACP cardiology advanced training committee and as chair of the CSANZ Fellows in Training committee. Research focuses have included use of echocardiography for prognostication in non-severe AS (NEDA database) and to inform long term TAVI valve durability in the WA cohort. She was recently awarded the CSANZ cardiac imaging prize for her project on clinical utility of cardiac MRI in myocardial infarction with non-obstructive coronary arteries (MINOCA).
DR HELENA VIOLA
Following 18 fruitful years as a cardiovascular biochemist working in the field of translatable cardiovascular research, Dr Helena Viola is now the General Manager for the Heart Foundation, Western Australia. Dr Viola completed her PhD at the University of Western Australia (2010, Distinction, top-ranked university-wide). She supported her research career with nationally competitive funding from the Heart Foundation and NHMRC. She has held several appointments, including as a founding member of the Australian Cardiovascular Research Alliance Emerging Leaders Committee, and Council member for the International Society for Heart Research (Australasian Section). She is currently a Board member of the Western Australian Cardiovascular Research Alliance, and a Council member of the Australian Council on Smoking and Health.
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR JOSHUA LEWIS
BSc(Hons), PhD, FASMBR
Josh is the research program lead for the Edith Cowan University Strategic Institute for Nutrition Research, and a National Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellow. He received his PhD from Murdoch University in 2009 and spent the next five years as a research officer with the Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and an adjunct senior research fellow with the University of Western Australia. He then moved to the University of Sydney, School of Public Health before returning to Perth in late 2017 to establish the disorders of mineralisation research group at the Edith Cowan University.
Josh was the inaugural Raine Medical Research Foundation Alan Robson Fellow and has been a National Health and Medical Research Council Career Development Fellow from 2016-2019. His research focusses on the convergence between bone and vascular biology with a particular focus on vascular calcification. This research seeks to identify individuals with clinically unrecognised disease so that early nutritional and lifestyle interventions can be implemented to prevent the progression to clinical disease such as heart attacks and strokes.
DR JANESSA PICKERING
Dr Janessa Pickering is an early career discovery scientist working to prevent Strep A infection and the progression to Rheumatic Heart Disease. She has 12 years experience in microbiology, molecular diagnostics and host pathogen interactions of upper respiratory tract pathogens that cause disease in children. Her recent expertise is in clinical microbiology research, and she continues to carve out a career in the laboratory science of Strep A infection and carriage. Her work has driven the development of new standards for Strep A detection in surveillance studies, contributing to research studies in the Kimberley, and the Australian Strep A Vaccine Initiative. Being embedded in the END RHD Program at the Telethon Kids Institute places her at the forefront of RHD prevention research in Australia.
DR STEPHEN BALL
Dr Stephen Ball is a Research Fellow and Deputy Director of PRECRU (the Prehospital, Resuscitation and Emergency Care Research Unit), in the School of Nursing, Curtin University, Western Australia; and adjunct Senior Research Fellow with St John Western Australia. Dr Ball’s research focusses on the epidemiology of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, ambulance dispatch, spatial analysis of health data, and perinatal epidemiology. Dr Ball currently five PhD/MPhil students, and teaches human anatomy and physiology at Curtin University. Since 2018, Dr Ball has overseen the management of the West Australian Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest Database (established 1996), which is maintained by PRECRU on behalf of St John Western Australia. Dr Ball is a member of the St John WA Research Governance Committee.
Associate Professor Hayley Christian
BSc (Hons), PhD
Associate Professor Hayley Christian is a distinguished researcher in child health, serving as Program Head of Healthy Behaviours and Environments and Head of the Child Physical Activity, Health, and Development Team at Telethon Kids Institute. Hayley leads a large multidisciplinary team across the Telethon Kids Institute and the University of Western Australia with a focus on cardiovascular disease prevention by improving children’s active play, health and development through impactful, multi-level interventions spanning the child, family, social, built and natural environment. This includes evidence-informed Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) specific physical activity policy and strategies to increase active play opportunities to support young children’s healthy behaviours and cardiovascular health.
Hayley collaborates with multi-sector partner organisations across government, not-for-profit and the private sector in WA, nationally and internationally to promote children’s physical activity and cardiovascular health. Her contributions extend globally, with her ECEC policy being adopted by the World Health Organization.
Through her role as Chief Investigator and Co-Director of the Western Australian node of the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course, she is also dedicated to promoting health equity.
A three-time consecutive Heart Foundation-funded Research Fellow (2012-2024), she has earned 41 research awards, including the WA Young Tall Poppy Scientist of the Year (2020) and the Heart Foundation Collaboration Award (2019). Her dedication continues to shape impactful policies and interventions to promote healthy behaviours in childhood and prevent cardiovascular disease.
At 9 years old Ayden was diagnosed with Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy. Over the last 18 years he has lived with and effectively managed his condition with a support network that includes his family. Ayden’s youngest brother was also diagnosed with the same condition 16 years ago. Throughout the years Ayden has been involved in a number of cardiovascular charities and research organisations by sharing his and his families experience to assist in fund raising and advice on consumer perspective, needs and wants in funding and research.