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The original vision for the creation of the Heart Research Institute was to create NSW's first medical research institute dedicated to the detection, prevention and treatment of heart disease.

On 17th March 1989, the Heart Research Institute (HRI) was created as a financially autonomous medical research institute, to exist in the supportive environments of The University of Sydney and The Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. The Institute was spearheaded by cardiologists at Sydney's Royal Prince Alfred Hospital led by David Richmond. This institute's model would allow scientists to be inspired by the challenges encountered at the patient's bedside, whilst also giving them access to the multidisciplinary capabilities of a major university.

Now 30 years on, this model is more relevant than ever. Integrating medical research with the delivery of health services has become a mantra for how contemporary medical research institutes should organise themselves for translational impact and improved public health outcomes.

Today HRI has more than 190 per­son­nel, work­ing in 14 sci­en­tif­ic groups and sup­port­ed by an oper­a­tions team, with over 800 col­lab­o­ra­tions across 44 countries.



Discovered a molecule that can predict who is most at risk of developing diabetes, 12 years in advance.


Uncovered the link between diabetes and CVD, a world-first and a discovery with the potential to save lives.


Discovered a way to identify the one in three patients at risk of suffering heart damage after undergoing angioplasty, a simple procedure to unclog blocked arteries.


Demonstrated that low-birth weight babies have thicker aortic walls, possibly predisposing them to greater risk of CVD later in life.


Investigated the role high-density lipoproteins ‘LDL’ (good cholesterol) plays in the protection against atherosclerosis.


Explored whether natural antioxidants such as vitamins E and C can actually prevent atherosclerosis, helping to elucidate the role of these vitamins.


Discovered that both protein and fat oxidation can have a major effect on heart disease and enter previously uncharted territory as we try to understand how protein oxidation can actually be prevented.


Proved the link between passive smoking and heart disease, research that became pivotal in the global move to ban smoking in public places.


Discovered the role cholesterylester transfer protein plays on cholesterol levels, leading to the development of new cholesterol drugs.