QRC-PVD Postgraduate Students

James Phie

Postgraduate Research Student

James' research at the QRC-PVD involves the investigation of nutritional supplements, nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals to prevent and treat peripheral vascular diseases. He is investigating treatment interventions in clinically relevant pre-clinical models of abdominal aortic aneurysm and intermittent claudication/peripheral artery disease.

James' research utilises gene knockout mice that closely mimic human diseases such as dyslipidemia, atherosclerosis and diabetes, which together claim more lives than any other disease in the western world. Microvascular surgical techniques are routinely used including infrarenal aortic surgical models (elastase, calcium chloride) and hind limb ischemia induction and ligation. Routine animal assessment techniques include laser Doppler perfusion imaging for blood flow measurements, exercise performance, ultrasound, blood pressure monitoring, tail blood sampling, cardiac puncture, and tissue/vascular dissection.

James' research also involves the use of analytical techniques such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA), histology, immunohistochemistry, magnetic bead assays, and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The goal of this research is to identify novel nutritional supplements, nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals which may ultimately translate to improve the management of peripheral vascular diseases in human patients.


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Safraz Mohamed Omer

Postgraduate Research Student

Safraz is undertaking research that involves evaluating therapeutic interventions for critical limb ischaemia (CLI). Currently, he is investigating a novel mouse model to better represent CLI in humans, and the role of a therapeutic endogenous protein (intellectual property protected) in CLI. Safram uses single and double mutant mice,which are crucial to study vascular diseases and endogenous therapeutic proteins. His techniques include microvascular surgery, laser doppler imaging, blood pressure measurements in mice, tissue dissections (including vascular dissection), cardiac puncture, ELISA, western blotting, immunohistochemistry, cytometric bead array, flow cytometry and RT-PCR.


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Chanika Alahakoon

PhD Student

Chanika is an international student from Sri Lanka working to prevent diabetic foot disease. Her PhD will involve a cohort study on patients admitted to Townsville Hospital and Health Service with diabetic foot disease. Data collected will include ethnicity, sex and types of complications as well as recording the number of CV events, minor, major amputations and other vascular interventions.  A Silhouette Star Camera will be used to objectively measure ulcers and the Society of Vascular Surgery Wound, Ischaemia and Foot Infection Score will be used to predict the risk of amputation.  Although the final stage is not clear, it is hoped an intervention program will be developed to help prevent ulcerations in patients affected with diabetes.