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Congratulations to PhD student Ivy Guan on being awarded the Women in Chemistry Honourable Prize in the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) 2022 National Awards.

Ivy presented on “Harnessing electrophilic natural products to identify new safe targets for antithrombotic development”, research that is ongoing in HRI’s Cardiovascular-protective Signalling and Drug Discovery Group led by Dr Xuyu Liu.

Thrombosis – the abnormal formation of blood clots that block major blood vessels – is a common underlying mechanism of cardiovascular diseases like stroke and coronary heart disease. However, all current therapies to treat thrombosis (antithrombotics) carry the risk of major bleeding as a side effect.

Car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease is Aus­trali­a’s – and the world’s – lead­ing killer.

To meet this clinical need for safer antithrombotic drugs, the Group focuses on studying protein targets modulated by natural antiplatelet agents found in healthy diets, with a view to identify safer protein targets that could open a pathway to improved treatments for thrombosis.

In this research, the team found that an isothiocyanate derived from cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and kale suppresses thrombogenic platelet activation without causing adverse bleeding effects. The team also identified the protein responsible for these characteristics.

This work pro­vides excit­ing mol­e­c­u­lar evi­dence for how healthy diets can mod­u­late platelet activ­i­ty and reduce the risk of throm­bo­sis,” Ivy says.

“The research results can potentially provide a new pathway to identify safer antiplatelet targets by leveraging the unique biological activity and safety feature of dietary natural products. They can also shed new light on the cardiovascular-protective roles of healthy diets at the molecular level.”

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