Jason Kovacic and the Media

Monique Bax & Tomorrow Fund grant

Media Release: Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute researcher awarded Tomorrow Fund grant to better understand cause of heart attacks in women

23 October 2020

Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute postdoctoral scientist Dr Monique Bax is one of 40 outstanding individuals sharing in $1 million of grants from the AMP Foundation’s Tomorrow Fund this year.

Since 2014, this AMP Foundation program has provided $7 million in grants to more than 300 Australians who are working to make a positive difference in their communities. Known as AMP Tomorrow Makers, these inspiring award winners work across a range of fields and disciplines, including medical research.

Dr Bax is using her $22,600 grant to further her stem cell research that aims to understand SCAD (Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection) – the cause of one third of heart attacks in women aged under 50 and the most prominent cause of heart attack in pregnant women and young mothers.

Dr Monique Bax

Women who suffer from SCAD often have multiple heart attacks and there is currently no treatment. Dr Bax has discovered some subtle differences in proteins expressed in patients with SCAD. The medical researcher believes, with further investigation, that this could lead to a better understanding and potential drug treatment options.

“The average age of SCAD patients is 42. This disease is therefore not only devastating for sufferers but also often for young Australian families,” Dr Bax said.

“Sadly, stress is associated with SCAD events. Finding a therapeutic option (ideally using already approved cardiovascular drugs) would therefore have a significant effect on improving quality of life for patients.

“Understanding the protein pathways affected in SCAD may also help to identify genetic risk factors. This would allow for screening of at-risk individuals who could benefit from preventative therapeutic options.:

The 2020 Tomorrow Fund recipients range in age from 15 to 62 and come from across Australia - from Perth to Townsville, rural Victoria to inner-city Sydney and regional New South Wales.

The Tomorrow Makers’ projects also reflect major social challenges and issues faced in Australia today including addressing COVID-19 pandemic through online health and education and support to artists and musicians, as well as support to people who have experienced domestic violence.

Head of the AMP Foundation, Helen Liondos, commented:

“Every year, hundreds of hard-working and innovative individuals apply for grants from the AMP Tomorrow Fund. The beauty of this unique program is that it’s open to any Australian, of any age, from any part of Australia. All they need to have is an unrelenting commitment to what they’re trying to achieve and to contribute to our community.

“Award winners can use their grants to fund a wide range of items to help them achieve their goal - whether it’s a vital piece of equipment, training or expert support. These boosts can make all the difference to a project’s success.

“Despite all the disruption of this year, so many Australians remain committed to making a positive impact on their communities. These individuals, who continue to train hard, create new art, search for scientific or social solutions, are not only inspirations but also confirmation that Australia has a wealth of exceptional individuals to take us into better days.”

View the full list of 2020 Tomorrow Makers, plus profiles and videos. To learn more about the AMP Foundation and the Fund, visit AMP's Tomorrow Fund site.

This media release was first published by the AMP Foundation.

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Acknowledgement of Country

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present.

Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute - The Home of Heart Research for 30 Years