Dr Natalie Ward
- Vascular and metabolic disorders
As a vascular biologist, finding preventions and treatments for cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a cause close to Natalie’s heart.
Natalie’s research examines the role of vascular dysfunction in CVD and the build-up of fat in vessels which leads to the formation of the disease atherosclerosis in which plaque build-up results in the hardening and narrowing of arteries, affecting blood flow.
Natalie’s team has successfully shown that dietary nitrate supplementation easily achievable in the human diet can prevent vascular dysfunction associated with the development of atherosclerosis in pre-clinical models. This supplementation also resulted in a plaque less prone to rupturing and causing heart attack or stroke.
Through subsequent human studies, the team has also shown beneficial effects of dietary nitrate on blood pressure and vascular function.
In other research, Natalie’s team found that supplementation with fibre and plant-based flavonoids can prevent development of the metabolic syndrome in pre-clinical models, partly through modulation of the gut microbiome.
Research interests – vascular biology; atherosclerosis; Type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome; lipid management; nutrition and lifestyle; gut microbiome.