New Baker Department at La Trobe University

Professor Peter Meikle

New Baker Department of Cardiovascular Research, Translation and Implementation at La Trobe University

La Trobe University and renowned medical research institute, the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, have strengthened their research collaborations by announcing a new Baker Department of Cardiovascular Research, Translation and Implementation.

This new Department consolidates a long-term research affiliation and will cement a closer interaction between staff from La Trobe University and the Baker Institute through staff appointments, collaborative research activities, joint training, scholarship support of research higher degree students and translation of research into practice, policy and education.

The partnership seeks to make a global impact on the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and related conditions by working together to create opportunities and environments for researchers to excel and research capacities to grow.

In particular, the partnership aims to:

  • Build interdisciplinary collaborations to enhance the scope, volume and quality of cardiovascular, diabetes and related research.
  • Provide access to organisational research resources, facilities, support and infrastructure to strengthen research.
  • Broaden access to health service and research networks, including via local and rural collaborations already developed by each organisation.
  • Facilitate the presence of a major medical research institute in the northern suburbs of Melbourne; a community disproportionately affected by chronic illness including cardiometabolic disease.

The new Department, which will be headed by Baker Institute cardiometabolic researcher, Professor Peter Meikle, aims to enhance links to basic, clinical and computational science across cardiovascular, diabetes and related research. Professor Meikle is a NHMRC Senior Research Fellow and leads the Obesity and Diabetes Program and the Metabolomics laboratory at the Baker Institute. His group is well-known for their pioneering lipidomics work and use of state-of-the-art tandem mass spectrometry, providing a great example of the exciting learning, development and collaborative opportunities that this Department will offer.

Professor Brian Oldenburg will also join the Department as a Professor of Public Health and Implementation Science. Professor Oldenburg holds an honorary appointment with the Baker Institute, an appointment with La Trobe University’s School of Psychology and Public Health and is the Director of La Trobe University’s Academic Research Collaboration in Health (ARCH) at The Alfred and the Director of the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Digital Technology to Transform Chronic Diseases. He investigates how to improve the prevention and control of cardiovascular disease and diabetes in both high income and developing countries, and is also exploring new technologies and m-health interventions to improve chronic disease outcomes.

The new Baker Department of Cardiovascular Research, Translation and Implementation, will join four other large Departments within the newly-named School of Agriculture, Biomedicine and Environment at La Trobe University, which will be formally implemented in January 2022. The other Departments are: Biochemistry and Chemistry; Microbiology, Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology; Animal, Plant and Soil Sciences, and Environment and Genetics.

La Trobe University Vice Chancellor, Professor John Dewar AO said: “We are proud that La Trobe is now home to the Baker Institute Department of Cardiovascular Research, Translation and Implementation. The Department will consolidate and strengthen an already fruitful affiliation between the two organisations and will undoubtedly enhance the research outputs in the prevention of heart disease.”

Baker Institute Director, Professor Tom Marwick said: “The Baker Institute is committed to enhancing the cardiometabolic health of our communities, including working in high-risk areas in Melbourne’s north. This partnership will help our efforts to better understand and prevent disease, to improve clinical practice and to help Australians to live healthier for longer.”

La Trobe University has a proud history of conducting research to address pressing societal needs. Our researchers work in partnership with community, industry, and government to create opportunities and address issues of local, national, and international importance. Our research positively impacts the communities we serve.

Since 1926, the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute has established a strong track record of scientific discovery and translation of these findings to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and related conditions. The Baker Institute’s research has paved the way for the recognition of two types of diabetes, the modern management of heart failure, the role of sedentariness in cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and many other innovations in treatment and prevention.

/Baker Institute Public Release. View in full here.