Professor Annemarie Hennessy

"Success as a scientist takes energy, friendship and collaboration."

Annemarie Hennessy is the leader of the Vascular Immunology Group and the Dean and Foundation Chair of Medicine at the Western Sydney University. She has 19 years' experience in preeclampsia research and is actively involved in clinical and laboratory research into the causes of high blood pressure during pregnancy. She directs two PhD students at the Heart Research Institute (USYD) and one at Western Sydney University.

Professor Hennessy is also the Managing Director of PEARLS, a non-profit organisation established under the auspices of the Heart Research Institute, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and Campbelltown Hospital to raise funds to support ongoing research into the cause of preeclampsia in pregnancy.

Current Appointments

Vascular Immunology Group Leader

Heart Research Institute

Dean and Foundation Chair of Medicine

Western Sydney University


Hypertension in Pregnancy

Chair of Scientific Advisory Committee

Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research

Nephrology and Hypertension in Pregnancy Service

Royal Prince Alfred, Campbelltown and Camden Hospitals

Professor Annemarie Hennessy leads group:
Research covers areas of:
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Research Project Opportunities
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Our projects have a principal interest in understanding the causes and progression of pre-eclampsia or high blood pressure in pregnancy.

Immune system study

Dr Shikha Aggarwal has joined the team to investigate a potential new blood test for pre-eclampsia. She is looking at whether a certain type of antibody, which occurs during pregnancy, is a cause or an effect of pre-eclampsia. Her testing has the potential to provide a clue to the causes of early disease and could be added to our current testing for pre-eclampsia in women at greater risk. This study uses state-of-the-art heart and blood-vessel cell technology to look at toxins in pregnancy. Dr Aggarwal is a PhD student from the University of Western Sydney and practicing Nephrologist (Kidney Specialist) who is furthering her training at the HRI.

Pre-eclampsia anaesthetic study

Dr Suzanne Pears is looking at how to control blood pressure in mothers with pre-eclampsia by using different types of anaesthesia. Dr Pears is a PHD student from the University of a Sydney working at both the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital at the Heart Research Institute.

Toxic Placenta Study

Neroli Sunderland’s PhD project and the work of Gabrielle Bobek at the University of Western Sydney is investigating the toxic effect of poor blood supply on the placenta.

Dr Bei Xu continues to do fantastic work looking at the effect of calcium, blood pressure tablets, and even cholesterol on how placentas grow into the expecting mother’s blood vessels.

Cholesterol and the placenta

Dr Katrina Chau is using her PhD project to investigate ways in which the placenta is controlled by the good cholesterol in the blood stream. Heart Research institute.

Awards for Research
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2015     Member (AM) in the Order of Australia for contribution to Medical Research particularly in the area of clinical hypertension and maternal health.
Current Research Grants
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NHMRC Enabling Capabilities Grant: App 1054126  $390,000. Prof Annemarie Hennessy, Prof A D’Apice, Prof P O‘Connell, Prof J Rasko, A/Prof S Twigg, Prof D Le Couteur
Bill and Melinda Gates Award (2014-2016). Physiology Component: siRNA for reversal of experimental preeclampsia, $USD215,000, Collaborators:  CI -Assoc Prof Ananth Karumanchi, Dr Ravi Thandhani, Prof Annemarie Hennessy, Angela Makris, Charles Mello, Melissa Moore.
LE140100009 Price, Prof William S S; Aldrich-Wright, Prof Janice R; Hennessy, Prof Annemarie; Sathasivan, A/Prof Arumugam S; Torres, Dr Allan M; Liney, Dr Gary P; Holloway, Dr Lois C; Delaney, Prof Geoff; Cornell, Dr Bruce A; Bosi, Dr Stephen G; Nyden, Prof Magnus; Messerle, Prof Barbara A; Arns, A/Prof Christoph H; Barton, Prof Michael B; Beves, Dr Jonathon E; Harper, Dr Jason B; Meikle, Prof Steven R; Bennett, Prof Maxwell R; Bourne, Dr Roger M; Keall, Prof Paul J; Johns, Prof Michael L; Fridjonsson, Asst Prof Einar O, 2014 $1,064,000.00
1997     PhD, University of Sydney
1992     Fellow of the Royal Australian College of Physicians
1985     Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery, University of Queensland
Skills and Expertise
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Clinical nephrology and hypertension medicine
Physiology research with a focus on pregnancy maladaptation to pregnancy
Obstetric medicine