1994 …2022

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Biography

Dr Tracey Gaspari leads the IRAP Pharmacology Group in the Department of Pharmacology. Her focus is the identification and elucidation of the role that Insulin Regulated Aminopeptidase (IRAP), an enzyme responsible for the metabolism of a number of peptides, plays in cardiovascular disease (CVD), particularly in fibrotic and vascular diseases. These studies are incredibly important as chronic diseases, such as CVD and diabetes, are regarded as Australia’s biggest health challenge, being the leading cause of illness, disability and mortality. Fibrosis, a hallmark of organ failure for which there is no effective cure, underpins many of these chronic diseases, with current treatments not effective in preventing or reversing fibrosis. Thus, her research vision is to 1) understand how targeting IRAP promotes resolution of fibrosis in CVD and related diseases including diabetes, with this work leading to (2) identification of new disease targets (such as NASH/IPF) that respond to IRAP inhibitor treatment and (3) development of drugs that can significantly improve patient health and reduce overall cost of healthcare related to these chronic diseases. This aligns with fibrosis being recognised as a major therapeutic target that the BDI Cardiovascular Disease Program is investing in and will enhance the reputation of both myself and Monash as the epicentre for global leadership in the area of IRAP biology, improving the translation of key findings into clinical outcomes.

The trajectory of Dr Gaspari has moved from being a traditional academic researcher to that of a researcher focused on commercialisation of her work following the extremely novel finding that the inhibition of IRAP completely reversed well-established cardiac and renal fibrosis; a hallmark of organ failure for which there is no effective cure. Her seminal work has discovered potent anti-fibrotic effects mediated by IRAP inhibition using novel pharmacological inhibitors, developed by her collaborator, Professor Philip Thompson, with complete resolution of well-established cardiac and renal fibrosis in aged mice. This finding was replicated in a number of preclinical models, resulting in the granting of a method of use patent on IRAP inhibitors in the treatment of fibrotic diseases (US10,100,311 B2, EU16829507.9) in the US and Europe. These findings also resulted in the Monash driven spin-out company, Inosi Therapeutics, co-founded by Dr Gaspari, Professor Widdop, Associate Professor Siew Yeen Chai (Dept of Physiology) and Professor Philip Thompson (MIPS), with the company backed by investment from the leading intellectual property commercialisation company, IP Group. The primary focus of the company is the development of novel inhibitors of IRAP as therapeutic candidates to treat fibrosis-related diseases.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

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