Free Radical.

Our aim is to understand how free radicals and oxidants can modify the structure and function of the artery wall

by focusing on oxidants generated in the artery wall during inflammation.

What impact will this research have?

Understanding the biochemistry of the free radicals and oxidants that cause damage to the artery wall during atherosclerosis provides us with insight into how and why the disease develops and progresses. This detailed knowledge allows us to strategically develop new approaches that we believe should reduce, or even prevent, the amount of arterial damage caused by these oxidants.

Current projects and goals 

We are pursuing a variety of biochemical projects to both assess, and reduce, the impact of inflammatory oxidants in atherosclerosis.

Assessing the nature of protein damage induced by free radicals and its biological consequences

This project investigates the products formed during free radical-induced damage to amino acids, peptides and proteins. The identification of novel products may provide markers of protein oxidation that can be used to assess the severity of damage by free radicals in atherosclerosis and other inflammatory diseases.

The role of oxidants in damaging protein structure and function

Hypohalous acid (HOCI), hypothiocyanous acid (HOSCN) and peroxynitrous acid (ONOOH) are oxidants that are produced in the arterial wall. These changes can damage the scaffold that supports the cells along with a variety of cellular enzymes. Several projects are examining damage to specific proteins by these oxidants, and how this affects both protein and cellular function.

Identifying antioxidants that can prevent damage to proteins by inflammatory oxidants

Protein damage by oxidants can lead to the development of multiple inflammatory diseases. We are characterising the reactions of a variety of natural and synthetic compounds that can rapidly scavenge these damaging oxidants  with the aim of reducing arterial oxidative damage in atherosclerosis. Our current focus is on a range of sulphur and selenium-containing compounds in these studies, as well as a class of compounds called nitroxides.

Research covers areas of:
Latest news

Meet the team: Imala Alwis

I'm Imala Alwis and I am a senior research officer at the Heart Research Institute, working in the Thrombosis group. Heart disease has affected me personally. My dad was in his mid fifties when he had triple bypass surgery. He led a very healthy lifestyle and he was only diagnosed during a routine medical check up.

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