Watch Dr Matilde Balbi accept the research grant award and hear a bit about the project.
Brain aneurysms form when a weak area of a blood vessel in the brain bulges out, often leading the vessel to rupture and blood to leak into the brain and the subarachnoid space (vascularised space between the brain and the skull). This condition known as aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage (aSAH) affects more than 10,000 patients per year in Australia. Of patients who experience an aSAH, roughly a quarter to half will then suffer from cerebral vasospasm, a debilitating complication of aSAH. What triggers vasospasms is unknown and there are no effective treatments available. Our project directly investigates a signalling pathway that we hypothesise is responsible for the cerebral vessel constriction causing vasospasm. Our objective is to find what triggers vasospasms. Using advanced imaging techniques in animal models of vasospasm, we will build on robust preliminary data showing that our target pathway triggers constriction of brain vessels by activating newly described receptors on vascular cells.