The University of Western Australia

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Hugh Barrett

Professor Hugh Barrett

Professor in Systems Biology
Medicine and Pharmacology, School of, Royal Perth Hospital Unit

Contact details
School of Medicine and Pharmacology Royal Perth Hospital Unit
The University of Western Australia (M002)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 6488 3459
+61 8 6488 1089
BAgrSc La Trobe, PhD Adel.
Hugh Barrett is a NHMRC Senior Research Fellow in the School of Medicine & Pharmacology and the Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics, University of Western Australia. His research has contributed to understanding lipid and lipoprotein metabolism in a variety of dyslipidemias and under various interventions designed to reduce cardiovascular disease burden. Using tracer methodologies his research has described the mechanism of action of statins, fibrates, CETP inhibitors, new PPAR agonists and other lipid lowering agents on lipoprotein kinetics, primarily in subjects with the metabolic syndrome. In addition, his research and modelling of tracer data in human, animal and in vitro systems has provided insight into the pathways that are responsible for the regulation of lipid metabolism.

Hugh has published more than 200 research papers in specialist lipid and general endocrinology journals, including Journal of Lipid Research, Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Diabetes, Diabetes Care, Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, and Journal of Biological Chemistry. He has been invited to speak at numerous national and international meetings in the USA, Canada, Mexico and Europe including the American Heart Association satellite on Lipoprotein Kinetics, ATVB Satellite Meeting, European Atherosclerosis Society, and American Diabetes Association. He is an Associate Editor for Atherosclerosis and is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Lipid Research. He had served on NHF and NHMRC GRPs in 2006-2008, 2010, 2014 and the NHMRC CDA panel in 2008-10. He was Deputy Chair of the ARC's ERA panel on Biomedical and Clinical Health Sciences Committee in 2010, Chair of the Medical and Health Sciences Panel in 2012 and panel member in 2015. Hugh is the past WA representative of the National Association of Research Fellows, the University of Western Australia Research Committee and Director of Research for the School of Medicine and Pharmacology.

Hugh received his BAgSc (Hon) from Latrobe University and PhD from the University of Adelaide for studies of lipoprotein kinetics and metabolism with Prof Paul Nestel at the Baker Heart Research Institute and CSIRO Division of Human Nutrition. He studies mathematical modelling as a fellow at the University of Washington and was, subsequently on the faculty in that department. In 1998 he was a Senior International Fogarty Fellow of the NIH and spent a sabbatical in Perth, prior to moving there in 1999. In 2002 he was awarded a Career Development award from the National Heart Foundation of Australia. In 2005, he was awarded a 5-year NHRMC Senior Research Fellowship; this was renewed in 2011.
Key research
Hugh’s research focus is on the development of mathematical models, using a systems biology approach, to describe the metabolic pathways of lipid and lipoprotein metabolism. As one of the authors of the SAAM program he uses complex compartmental models to describe lipid and lipoprotein metabolism within individuals. In addition, he is developing models using population kinetics, in collaboration with the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Washington, Seattle that use data sets from large numbers of individuals and permit the identification of new covariates that are associated with lipid and lipoprotein metabolism. In addition, Hugh has a number of research collaborations with other lipid groups and with research in non-lipid areas including hormone metabolism.
In addition to basic and clinical research, Hugh is working in the area of Physical Activity Challenges and ran, with David Glance, the UWA Challenge in 2015. The next challenge, the City of Perth Challenge starts in March 2016. Associated with each challenge is a research study that measures CVD risk markers and measures of health and wellbeing. The challenges are run using the SelfeHealth program -
For publications and citations, click either link:
Roles, responsibilities and expertise
2006 - Professor in Systems Biology, School of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Western Australia

2008 - Affiliate Professor, Department of Bioengineering, University of Washington, Seattle

2008 - Visiting Scientist, Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, School of Medicine, Tufts University, Boston

2016 - Acting Associate Dean (Research) Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences
Funding received
National Institutes of Health
Human Lipoprotein Pathophysiology Program Project, 1988/1992, US$1,548,764 per year
Resource Facility for Kinetic Analysis, NCRR 02176, 1993/1997, US$650,000 per year
Metabolic hetereogeneity of LDL in normolipidemia, 1994/1999, US$450,000
Resource Facility for Population Kinetics, NCRR 12609, 1998/2003, US$600,000 per year
Resource Facility for Population Kinetics. Focus on population and metabolic kinetics, 2003/8, US$722,168 per year

Lotteries Commission Medical Research Programme
Equipment - Liquid chromatography – ion trap mass spectrometer, 2000, $294,151

Role of apoCIII in the regulation of lipoprotein metabolism in obesity, 2002/4, $101,500, $85,000, $52,500
Clinical and laboratory studies of piperaquine, a new candidate for combination antimalarial therapy with artemisinins, 2005/7, $168,730, $114,845, $75,500
Lifestyle and pharmacological regulation of lipoprotein metabolism in the metabolic syndrome, 2006/8, $561,462
Lipoprotein metabolism and mutations of apoB causing familial hypobetalipoproteinaemia, 2006/9, $377,400
Reducing CVD risk in the metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes: Novel approaches to studies of lipoprotein metabolism, 2009/11, $527,725
Therapeutic regulation of hepatic steatosis and lipid transport in the metabolic syndrome, 2009/11, $501,775

National Heart Foundation of Australia
Regulation of apoB-100 and chylomicron remnant metabolism with statin and fish oil in obesity, 2000/1, $40,500, $41,400
The metabolism of high-density lipoproteins in hepatic lipase transgenic rabbits in the presence or absence of cholesteryl ester transfer protein inhibition, 2002, $52,000
The regulation of HDL metabolism in obesity, 2002/3, $49,323, $42,156
Career Development Fellowship, 2002/7, $90,000 per year
Regulation of HDL metabolism in obesity: effects of fat compartments and weight reduction, 2004/5, $50,000 per year
A novel truncating apolipoprotein B gene mutation, L343V, causing familial hypolipoproteinemia, 2004/5, $50,000 per year
A pharmacogenomic approach to regulating lipoprotein metabolism in obesity: effect of weight reduction and inhibition of cholesterol absorption, 2006/7, $120,000
Coordinated regulation and function of apoCIII in obesity, 2008/9, $62,347
Effects of fish oil and statin on fat metabolism in obesity, 2009/10, $120.000
ApoCIII as a regulator of fatty acid and lipoprotein metabolism in women: understanding dyslipidemia as a cardiovascular risk factor, 2012/13, $127,404

National Heart Foundation of New Zealand
Developing a co-ordinated approach to FH investigation: diagnosis and functional studies, 2004/6, $280,000

Royal Perth Hospital Medical Research Foundation
Validation of chylomicron breath test in subjects with visceral obesity, 2000/1, $6600
The regulation of apoCIII metabolism in subjects with visceral obesity, 2000/1, $4500
Lipoprotein metabolism of apoB mutants: molecular and metabolic studies in familial hypobetalipoproteinemia, 2001/2, $12,109
New aspects of cholesterol absorption and transport in obesity, 2003/4, $10,000
In vitro studies of L343V, a novel missense mutation in the apoB gene, 2003/4, $10,330

Bristol Myers Squibb
Effect of pravastatin on chylomicron remnant clearance in women with type 2 diabetes, 2004/5, $65,000

University of Western Australia
Regulation of HDL metabolism in insulin resistance, 2000/1, $9720
Regulation of Cholesterol and Lipoprotein Metabolism in Obesity: Mechanistic Insights into a Novel Therapy, 2005/6, $20,000
Kinetic Defects in Lipoprotein Metabolism in Patients with Chronic Renal Failure, 2008, $27,500
Kinetic Studies of ApoE in the Metabolic Syndrome, 2009, $25,000

Department of Health
Effects of tibolone and PPAR-agonist on HDL metabolism in postmenopausal women, 2006, $10,000

Healy Medical Research Foundation
Computational biology: application to studies in cardiovascular disease, 2000/1 2001/2, $48,000, $48,000

Raine Medical Foundation
A systems biology approach to study the coordinated regulation and function of apolipoprotein C-III in the metabolic syndrome, 2008/9, $183,000

Glaxo Wellcome
Pharmacological studies of lipoprotein kinetics, 2001/2, $210,435
Effect of fenofibrate and atorvastatin on apoCIII and HDL apoAII metabolism, 2002/6, $182,656
Effect of lipid lowering therapy on lipoprotein metabolism in the metabolic syndrome (PAD), 2004/6, $510,730
Effect of lipid lowering therapy on lipoprotein metabolism in the metabolic syndrome (PAA), 2004/6, $510,030

Pfizer Ltd: Cardiovascular Lipid Grants
Regulation of apolipoprotein CIII metabolism with atorvastatin in visceral obesity, 2002/3, $48,189

Raine Medical Research Foundation
Lipoprotein metabolism and defects of the apolipoprotein B gene: molecular and metabolic studies in familial hypobetalipoproteinemia, 2002/3, $65,039, $69,064

HDL Turnover - Clinical, 2007/11, $917,175
Kinetics of apoB and HDL, 2007/11, $1,190,957

Lipoprotein Kinetics Network, 2008, $131,000, 2009, $131,000

Western Australian Institute for Medical Research
Cardiovascular Biomathematics Unit, 2002/6, $71,000 pa

Currently held
Senior Research Fellow B, 2011/15, $630,505
Niacin lowers Lp(a) concentrations in type 2 diabetes, 2012/14, $354,920
Regulation of triglyceride-rich lipoprotein metabolism in familial hypercholesterolaemia, 2012/14, $594,770
Lipoprotein(a) metabolism in subjects at high risk of cardiovascular disease, 2014/16, $668,434

National Heart Foundation of Australia
Exercising for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Health in Obesity, 2013/14, $130,000

Kinetic studies with PCSK9 inhibitors, 2014/15
Industrial relevance
Design and analysis of lipoprotein metabolic studies to identify and quantitate metabolic pathways in basal states and following intervention.
Australian Atherosclerosis Society, Director 2007-10
American Heart Association – Fellow, Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology
American Heart Association – Member, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism Council
European Atherosclerosis Society
International Atherosclerosis Society
Australian Vascular Biology Society
WA Representative of the National Association for Research Fellows (NARF) of the NHMRC 2006-9
Honours and awards
1984 Shell Prize, Latrobe University
1984 Summer Scholarship, Baker Medical Research Institute
1984 Baker Medical Research Institute, Summer Scholarship
1984-86 Baker Medical Research Institute, PhD Scholarship
1986-88 CSIRO, PhD Scholarship
1988 National Heart Foundation of Australia Travel Grant
1994 National Institutes of Health, NHLBI FIRST Award, "Metabolic heterogeneity of LDL in normolipidemia”
1997 Fogarty Senior International Fellowship, Fogarty Center, National Institutes of Health
1998 Raine Medical Research Foundation, Visiting Professor
2002 Career Development Fellowship, National Heart Foundation of Australia
2004 Berman-Zech Award, Metabolism Society
2005 Senior Research Fellowship, National Health & Medical Research Council of Australia
2008 Henry and Rene Bester Bequest, National Heart Foundation of Australia
2011 Senior Research Fellowship, National Health & Medical Research Council of Australia
2013 The President’s Award, National Heart Foundation of Western Australia
Previous positions
1989-1991 Senior Fellow, Center for Bioengineering,University of Washington, Seattle
1991-1997 Research Assistant Professor of Bioengineering, University of Washington, Seattle
1996 -1998 Co-Director, Resource Facility for Kinetic Analysis
1997- 1999 Research Associate Professor of Bioengineering, University of Washington, Seattle
1998 Raine Visiting Professor, University Department of Medicine, University of Western Australia
1999 - 2006 Associate Professor, School of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Western Australia
1999 - 2007 Affiliate Associate Professor, Department of Bioengineering, University of Washington, Seattle
2001 - Director, Lipoprotein Research Unit, School of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Western Australia
2001 - Director, Biostatistics and Mathematical Modeling Unit, School of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Western Australia
2002 - 2005 Career Development Fellow, National Heart Foundation of Australia
2005 - 2016 Senior Research Fellow, National Health & Medical Research Council
2005 - 2010, 2014-2015 Director of Research, School of Medicine and Pharmacology
Current external positions
Chair, Scientific Advisory Committee, Fremantle Hospital Medical Research Foundation
320603, 321003, 320303
Research profile
Research profile and publications

The University of Western Australia

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Last updated:
Tuesday, 3 November, 2015 2:39 PM