Getting to the heart of topline research

Dr Jodie Ingles

NHMRC/National Heart Foundation early career fellow, Dr Jodie Ingles is a much awarded Centenary Institute researcher who is in demand—and her work could lead to a significant change in how we care for people with a genetic heart disease

Among the most significant findings of her PhD studies, supervised by Professor Chris Semsarian, is that genetic testing is a cost effective approach to managing families with genetic heart disease. Jodie also found that it has no lasting psychological impact on those tested, even in those who test gene-positive.

Although genetic testing is marginally more expensive at present than the current practice of regular clinical screening, Jodie has helped to show that it increases the quality of life of patients and has the potential in the near future to save money as the price of testing comes down. “The good news is that this is expected to happen within the next year due to vast improvements in technologies,” she says.

Genetic testing can also identify family members who do not have a genetic fault which would put them at risk.  “This can free up resources to help people with disease and reduce demands on our healthcare budget,” says Chris Semsarian.

Jodie’s PhD work was so thorough that it passed without amendment—for which she was awarded a 2011 Peter Bancroft Prize by the Sydney Medical School.

Further, she is one of five students short-listed for the 2012 Rita and John Cornforth Medal—named for Australia’s Nobel Prize winning chemist and his research partner and wife— which recognises the best PhD each year across the entire University of Sydney. And that comes on top of an award at the recent Centenary Institute annual meeting for a publication in the International Journal of Cardiology, which was adjudged the student paper with the highest impact factor.

Now Jodie’s heading out to spread the word. After attending the annual scientific meeting of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand in Brisbane where she will present two invited talks and four posters, she’s off to Europe. There, she will present two posters at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2012 in Munich, and speak about her recent work on posttraumatic stress disorder in patients with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator at the Heart and Mind Conference in Prato, Italy.

Jodie came to the Centenary Institute in 2003 as a genetic counsellor to work with Professor Semsarian in establishing the National Genetic Heart Disease Register.  Congratulations, Jodie on achieving so much in such a short time.