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. During this time, he developed an interest in how the growth of new blood vessels could rescue the heart after a heart attack and mechanisms that promote damage to the heart during a heart attack.
Since his return to the Kolling Institute in 2007, his research has focused on how the abnormal reaction of maternal blood vessels can predispose a woman to life threatening complications during pregnancy. For most women pregnancy ends with delivery of a healthy baby to a healthy mother. However, for approximately 20% of Australian women do not have this fairy-tale ending to their pregnancy. Complications of pregnancy (like pre-eclampsia and growth restriction) are not only an immediate threat to the life of mother and baby, but also enhance their life-long cardiovascular risk and predispose them to complications like hypertension, renal failure and heart failure.
It is for these women, who’s happiest moments are scarred by uncertainty and loss, that we do the research that we do. The ability to offer early detection and treatment options to women with pregnancy complications is the beacon of hope in a very bleak therapeutic landscape without options.
To this end our recent Heart Research Australia funding has allowed us to begin developing new tests and drugs to treat these conditions with the hope of offering real-world solutions to these problems in the near future.”
“Our goal is to develop the next generation of cures and diagnostics that will mean no woman has to feel the sense of desperation and loss associated with problematic pregnancies.”