Liver fibrosis and cirrhosis, portal hypertension and novel drug development, novel treatments for biliary and fatty liver disease, diabetes and liver disease
Field of Research (FoR)
Dr Chandana B. Herath is an expert Hepatologist and Senior Lecturer of South Western Sydney Clinical School of University of New South Wales, Australia. He is also an honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Medicine of the University of Melbourne at Austin Health, Melbourne where he is also supervising postdoctoral fellows working on different projects. Dr Herath has also been appointed as a professor (adjunct) with National...view more
Dr Chandana B. Herath is an expert Hepatologist and Senior Lecturer of South Western Sydney Clinical School of University of New South Wales, Australia. He is also an honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Medicine of the University of Melbourne at Austin Health, Melbourne where he is also supervising postdoctoral fellows working on different projects. Dr Herath has also been appointed as a professor (adjunct) with National Institute of Fundamental Studies in Kandy, Sri Lanka. During his career as a hepatologist he has made a significant contribution towards his discipline including developing animal models of liver diseases to study and formulate therapies to treat patients with liver diseases. Dr Herath is running a successful experimental gene therapy program targeting the renin angiotensin system in liver disease and has undertaken translational studies in humanised mouse models to test a novel human-liver specific viral vectors to be utilised for future clinical trials. He is also involved in a drug discovery program to design and develop novel therapeutics to treat portal hypertension. He was successful in securing nationally competitive grant funding, amounting to over AU$ 3 million from National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia. He has supervised and/or mentored 8 PhD and 4 MD students to successful completion and currently supervises PhD students, postdoctoral fellows and research assistants working in a number of projects. Dr Herath has authored over 90 publications which include over 50 peer reviewed original papers, and book chapters and conference proceedings, and currently serving on the editorial boards of international scientific journals.
Major Grant Funding:
● National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) project grant (APP1124125): Novel therapies targeting the alternate renin angiotensin system in chronic liver disease (2017-2021; $1,284,565).
● National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) project grant (APP1062372): The alternate renin angiotensin system; a novel target for the prevention and treatment of liver fibrosis and portal hypertension (2014-2016; $671,034).
● National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) project grant (APP1029990): The AGE-RAGE pathway in chronic liver disease; a novel target for prevention and treatment (2012-2014; $446,175).
● National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) project grant (APP1008252): Targeting the RAS in liver fibrosis and portal hypertension (2011-2013; $621,000).
● National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) equipment grant: 2100 Bioanalyzer with Electrophoresis and Flow Cytometry Systems (2011; $25,000)
Other Grant Funding:
● Austin Medical Research Foundation (AMRF) grant: ACE2 therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma (2019; $15,000).
● Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences (FMDHS), University of Melbourne: Novel therapies for portal hypertension (2019; $45,000).
● Australian Chinese Medical Association (Victoria) research grant. Role of angiotensin peptides in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (2016; $3000).
● National Research Council (NRC) of Sri Lanka project grant (NRC-045): Sri Lankan indigenous herbal recipes for treatment of liver cirrhosis: Investigation of active compounds present in herbal recipes and medicinal plants (2015-2017; $60,000).
● Austin Medical Research Foundation (AMRF) grant: 2100 Bioanalyzer with Electrophoresis and Flow Cytometry Systems (2012; $10,000).
●Austin Medical Research Foundation (AMRF) grant: The role of angiotensin-(1-7) in the development of liver disease and portal hypertension (2010; $10,000).
● Austin Medical Research Foundation (AMRF) grant: Analysis of global gene expression profiles in the liver of patients with fatty liver and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and the effects of angiotensin II type 1 receptor antagonism (2008; $10,000).
● Japan Science and Technology Agency: Gene expression aberations in cloned bovine fetuses (2003-2004; $100,000).
● Japan Science and Technology Agency: Subtle effects of environmentally persistent estrogen-like chemicals on make and female reproductive physiology (2000-2002; $40,000).
Doctoral of Philosophy (PhD)
Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine & Animal Science (BVSc)
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) postdoctoral Fellowship
Massey University PhD scholarship
My Research Activities
● Screening and development of novel therapeutics for COVID-19 by targeting the interface between SARS-CoV2 and its receptor ACE2.
● Development of small molecule drugs targeting the inhibition of a newly discovered RAS receptor to treat cirrhotic patients with portal hypertension.
● Development of gene therapy protocols to treat cirrhosis using humanised mouse models prior to commencing clinical studies in cirrhotic patients.
● Novel ACE2- and angiotensin peptide-based therapeutic strategies coupled with a nanotech approach for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
● Novel ACE2-based therapeutic interventions which specifically target pancreatic beta cells to improve insulin synthesis/secretion in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
● Role of ACE2 in Type 2 diabetic model of NAFLD and contribution of beta cell-targeted therapy on the progression of NAFLD to NASH and cirrhosis/HCC.
● Role of dietary AGE-RAGE/microbiome axis in NAFLD progression and the effect of drugs (eg. alagebrium) targeting this axis.
My Research Supervision
Areas of supervision
Pathophysiology of liver disease, novel treatments for chronic liver disease and portal hypertension, gene therapy for liver fibrosis
Development of mouse models of hepatocellular cancer, development and characterisation of 3D organoid cell culture models for the study liver disease, 3D bioprintable liver models for in vitro toxicity studies using RASTRUM