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Biography

Professor David Celermajer is a University Medallist from Sydney University, a Rhodes Scholar and was the first winner of the prestigious Blackburn medal for clinical research at the University, in 2019.

Since 2004, he has been the Scandrett Professor of Cardiology and from 2006 to 2020, was Head of the Discipline of Cardiology at The University of Sydney. David is also an Academic Cardiologist at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, where he is Director of Adult Congenital Heart Services and Director of Research in Cardiology. In addition to these roles, David is also the Clinical Director of the Heart Research Institute and serves on the Board of Directors of HeartKids Australia. He is currently the Chairman of the Congenital Heart Alliance of Australia and New Zealand. He has been a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science since 2006 and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Science since 2018. In 2014, He was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO).

Prof Celermajer sits on the Editorial Boards of many of the world’s leading Cardiology Journals, including the European Heart Journal, the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and Heart. He has published over 600 papers, with career citations of over 70 000 and an H-index of 110. In recognition of this, he has been awarded many major national and international awards for Research Excellence. He is also one of the world’s leading authorities on the treatment of adults with congenital heart disease.

With established research teams at the Heart Research Institute and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, he applies basic and clinical science to investigate his main research interests: congenital heart disease, pulmonary vascular disease and atherosclerosis.

Research interests

Congenital heart disease (CHD) is one of the most common birth defects, with an incidence of 75/1000 live births internationally. Advances in surgical and medical care of CHD in children have led to growth in the number of adults living with CHD, especially those with complex heart disease. The changing epidemiology of the CHD population has created a need for improved specialty care for these patients. Prof Celermajer’s team conducts research in both clinical science and public health to help inform clinical treatment and policy concerning adults with CHD.

David led the development of the Adult Congenital Heart Disease (ACHD) Database at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, an essential tool in the clinical care and research of NSW’s largest ACHD population. Specifically, this has enabled research into the characterisation and management of late-stage complications in ACHD, such as pulmonary hypertension, arrhythmias, endocarditis and heart failure. Prof Celermajer’s research also investigates CHD’s impact on other systems in the body, for example, retinal vessel changes in the adults with Coarctation of the Aorta. Appropriate exercise has also been a key focus on improving the outcomes in ACHD patients, particularly in individuals living with a Fontan circulation.

From a public health perspective, his research group is interested in developing ‘whole-of-life’ care for patients with CHD. Previous research from his group shows that patients require continuing follow up with specialty CHD clinicians to minimise risk of late-stage complications associated with ACHD. Based on these findings, David’s group has begun to collaborate with various NSW Health districts to demonstrate a model that will provide system-wide ‘whole-of-life’ care for patients with CHD.

To suc­ceed as a sci­en­tist, pas­sion and com­mit­ment are the nec­es­sary pre­req­ui­sites, as one needs to feel that the joy of dis­cov­ery out­weighs the hur­dles involved. A good mea­sure of patience is help­ful. Most impor­tant of all is the abil­i­ty to think lat­er­al­ly if sur­prised by an unex­pect­ed result — many of the best dis­cov­er­ies are serendipitous!”

Associations

Chairman (2007-16) – National Heart Foundation Research Committee

Director of Echocardiography (2008-2021) – RPA Hospital

Director of Adult Congenital Heart Disease Services (1996 to current) – RPA Hospital

Co-Director of Pulmonary Hypertension Services (2000 to current) – RPA Hospital

Chairman of the Steering Committee (2018 to current) – Congenital Heart Alliance of Australia and New Zealand

Foundation Board Member (2016 to current) – HeartKids Australia

Board Member (2010-2018) – Menzies School of Health Research

Board Member (2020 to current) – Head Foundation, Singapore

Board member (2010 to 2021) – Sir Zelman Cowen Universities Trust

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