Our Researchers

Your support powers our researchers to explore new medical breakthroughs in heart disease.

Professor Helge Rasmussen

MD DMSc FRACP Chair of Cardiology, University of Sydney Department of Cardiology, Royal North Shore Hospital

Professor Helge Rasmussen divides his time between working as an interventional cardiologist and leading a team of researchers in molecular and cellular medicine. A particular focus of his research is learning how heart cells work, which has led to discoveries that could mean better treatment for heart failure and other forms of cardiovascular disease.

Professor Geoffrey Tofler

MBBS MB FRACP FACC, Professor of Preventative Cardiology, University of Sydney, Staff Specialist in Cardiology at Royal North Shore Hospital, Chair of Preventative Cardiology for Heart Research Australia

Professor Geoffrey Tofler has over 20 years’ experience as a clinical consultant cardiologist, including 13 years at Harvard Medical School Hospital in Boston.

Dr Ashleigh Dind


Dr Ashleigh Dind’s latest research is focused on better understanding the differences between myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and myocardial infarction (commonly known as heart attack).

Professor Gemma Figtree

MB BS, DPhil (Oxon), FRACP, FCSANZ, FAHA Interventional Cardiologist, Royal North Shore Hospital and Professor (Medicine), University of Sydney

Prof Gemma Figtree is committed to improving the care for heart attack patients, using her knowledge of redox signalling to develop methods of identifying those at highest risk of adverse outcomes, and discovering novel therapies, inspired by her clinical work as an interventional cardiologist at Royal North Shore Hospital.

Dr Anthony Ashton

Senior Lecturer, University of Sydney Scientific Director, Division of Perinatal Research Kolling Institute of Medical Research

Dr Anthony Ashton graduated with a PhD from UNSW and spent 12 years developing his skills in cardiovascular research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. His research is focused on how abnormal reaction of maternal blood vessels can predispose a woman to life threatening complications during pregnancy.

Professor Martin Kluckow

MBBS FRACP CCPU Professor of Neonatology, Northern Clinical School

Professor Kluckow is a Senior Staff Specialist in Neonatology at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney and a Professor of Neonatology at the University of Sydney, Australia. With his Sydney based research group, he has led the development of neonatal haemodynamics and point of care ultrasound in the neonatal unit for the past 23 years,

Dr Owen Tang

PhD student at Kolling institute in Nephrology

As Laboratory Manager, Dr Tang is a key figure in the lab, sharing his knowledge and expertise with graduate students and medical researchers.

Dr Elisha Hamilton

Laboratory Manager, Kolling Institute

Dr Hamilton is directly responsible for performing many of the experiments that are conducted within Prof Rasmussen’s laboratory as well as providing a supervisory role to both students and research assistants within the lab.

Dr Carmine Gentile

B.Sc./M.Sc Pharm.D. Ph.D, Lecturer - University of Sydney, Early Career Researcher at the Kolling Institute of Medical Research- Royal North Shore Hospital, & Visiting Research Fellow in Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center - Harvard Medical School.

Dr Gentile’s work focuses on cardiovascular regeneration and tissue engineering for heart attack. Dr Carmine’s current research involves working closely with cardiologists and cardiac surgeons to identify the best way to provide 3D bio-printed heart tissue for a patient who has suffered a heart attack.

Professor Martin Ugander

MD, PhD, FCSANZ Professor of Cardiac Imaging, University of Sydney, and Department of Cardiology, Royal North Shore Hospital

Professor Ugander has a research interest in non-invasive cardiac imaging in general and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in particular, with a focus on the diagnoses ischemic heart disease, myocarditis, and heart failure, as well as basic cardiac pumping physiology.

Dr Chris Roche


Dr Roche, is a cardiac surgical trainee and has brought surgical skills and insights to the team supervised by Dr Gentile – a bioprinting expert who is working towards producing heart patches made of special ‘bio-ink’. Together, their project aims to regenerate parts of the heart that have died following a severe heart attack and help heart failure patients. The ‘bio-ink’ uses individualised stem cells taken from blood or skin samples which are then converted to beating heart cells.

Dr Usaid Allahwala

MBBS (Hons I) | BSc(Med)Hons (Hons) | FRACP (Cardiology) | FCSANZ | Phd (Usyd Candidate)

Dr Allahwala has a keen interest in coronary artery disease, valvular heart disease, heart failure management and arrhythmias. He has a strong background in research having published more than 30 peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters. 

Dr Eveline Staub

MD, Mmed (Clin Epi), FRACP, PhD candidate Uni Sydney

Dr Eveline Staub is a specialist in general paediatrics, neonatology and paediatric intensive care. Dr Staub is currently a consultant neonatologist at Royal North Shore Hospital, NSW, focusing on clinical work with patients and families, researching the development of kidneys after preterm birth and the long-term consequences on blood pressure and renal health.

Dr Belinda Di Bartolo

BMedSc(Hons); PhD  

Dr Belinda Di Bartolo is researching the two different risk factors in atherosclerosis – calcification and inflammation. She is looking to understand how calcium gets into the blood vessels, how it affects the blood vessels and why, when combined with inflammation, is it so damaging for the heart.

Dr Di Wu


Dr Di Wu is undertaking pre-clinical studies to try a new therapy to halt free radicals which alter the sodium pump and can cause scarring on the heart which can then lead to heart failure.

Dr Levi Bassin

BSc (Computer Science), MBBS, PhD, FRACS 

Dr Levi Bassin is a practicing cardiothoracic surgeon and is researching different ways to conduct coronary bypass surgery to reduce potential future graft failure and the need for subsequent therapy or surgery.

Angus Fung


Angus Fung is researching existing body size metrics to establish a definitive metric for the indexation of cardiac output, heart rate and stroke volumes, and empirically determining a cut-off value for these measures utilising The National Echo Database Australia, the largest database of its type in the world.

Dr Avedis Ekmejian


Dr Avedis Ekmejian’s research is looking at the mechanisms which could cause varying results between FFR and iFR, and how these differences can be interpreted. He will also look at the makeup and geometry of the plaque itself using intra-vascular imaging (OCT). He will look at whether increased irregularity and surface roughness within the lesion or plaque itself is accounting for these differences.

Dr Marie Besnier

BSc, MSc, PhD (Biomedical Sciences)  

Dr Marie Besnier is developing a new technique to analyse the chemical and physical properties of Extracellular Vesicles as well as a practical and user-friendly tool to study them.

Dr Giannie Barsha

BSc (Hons), PhD  

Dr Giannie Barsha is looking at a solution to prevent heart failure and improve survival rates in heart attack patients by investigating the anti-inflammatory drug PKT inhibitor X.