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Dr Xuyu (Johnny) Liu, leader of the Cardiovascular-protective Signalling and Drug Discovery Unit at the Heart Research Institute (HRI), has been awarded a Selby Research Award for 2023.

The prestigious award provides funds to assist an outstanding early-career academic to establish their research career in chemistry or chemistry-related fields.

Dr Liu, who is also Conjoint Senior Lecturer and ARC DECRA Fellow at The University of Sydney, received the prize for his project on natural modifications of proteins and how they impact protein function and cellular decision-making processes.

The project will develop a synthetic platform for discovering novel tool molecules capable of precisely engineering proteins in living cells.

In particular, the molecules will be used to investigate the functional consequences of protein modifications in platelet and neutrophil cells – two critical components of blood that are involved in thrombosis and stroke.

Successful translation of this technology for cardiovascular research will transform the way in which protein modifications are studied and pave the way to develop cardiovascular precision medicine.

In his research program, Dr Liu works closely with cardiologists and haematologists at HRI and The University of Sydney, aiming to decipher clinical genetics to develop next-generation precision medicine.

This award pro­vides fund­ing for the pio­neer­ing devel­op­ment of mol­e­cules with inno­v­a­tive phar­ma­co­log­i­cal activ­i­ties aimed at treat­ing strokes and throm­bo­sis,” Dr Liu said.

Additionally, it furnishes financial backing for Dr Liu to highlight and share the remarkable discoveries stemming from his laboratory.

“I would like to express my gratitude to the Foundation and Mr Selby for their generous support in promoting research, innovation, and training in my laboratory,” he said.

Check out one of the innovative therapeutic molecules discovered in Dr Liu’s laboratory – how natural chemicals in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli can treat stroke.

Header image: Dr Xuyu Liu


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