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Congratulations to Dr Xuyu (Johnny) Liu, Unit Leader at the Heart Research Institute, who has been awarded a $100,000 Health Investment Grant from the Clive & Vera Ramaciotti Foundations.

The grant will allow Dr Liu to pursue his project on using nature-inspired anticoagulants to develop safer and more effective treatments for stroke, which are urgently needed.

Close to 55,000 Australians will suffer a stroke every year, often without warning and at any age. It is a major cause of disability, costing an estimated $7.74 billion each year in health care in Australia.

Most strokes are caused by a clot that blocks blood flow to part of the brain. There is currently only one emergency drug treatment (rtPA) to dissolve the clot in patients who arrive at hospital with an acute stroke.

Moreover, rtPA is often ineffective and has an increased risk of bleeding, making it unsuitable for many stroke patients. New treatments for stroke are desperately needed.

Dr Liu leads the Cardiovascular-protective Signalling and Drug Discovery Unit at HRI and is also a Conjoint Senior Lecturer and ARC DECRA Fellow at The University of Sydney.

Dr Liu has also been awarded funding from the NSW Cardiovascular Research Capacity Program to test two new clot-dissolving drug candidates, derived from the Australian bush tick.

“I am incredibly grateful to the Ramaciotti Foundations. With this funding, we will be able to accelerate production of these drug candidates for further clinical studies and use an advanced mass spectrometry platform to understand the impact of these drugs at the molecular level,” says Dr Liu.

Improved treat­ments to help peo­ple who have suf­fered a stroke are on the horizon.”

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

For over 50 years, the Ramaciotti Foundations have been expanding and supporting life-enhancing biomedical research. The Ramaciotti Health Investment Grants are awarded to autonomous early career scientists to support health or medical research with a potential path to clinical application within five years.

Header image: Dr Xuyu Liu


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