Theme Leader

Professor Steve Nicholls

Steve Nicholls is Deputy Director (Strategy and Partnerships), Heart Foundation Heart Health Theme Leader and Chairman of the Clinical Research Pillar at SAHMRI. He is also Professor of Cardiology at the University of Adelaide and Consultant Cardiologist at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. He completed his medical training in Adelaide, cardiology training at John Hunter Hospital and his PhD in the Lipid Research Group led by Philip Barter and Kerry-Anne Rye at the Heart Research Institute, focusing on the anti-inflammatory properties of high-density lipoproteins (HDL, the good form of cholesterol).

He moved to the Cleveland Clinic to undertake a postdoctoral fellowship in atherosclerotic plaque imaging and was subsequently appointed to the faculty in the Departments of Cardiovascular Medicine and Cell Biology. In this capacity he served as Medical Director of the Atherosclerosis Imaging Core Laboratory, Cardiovascular Director of the Cleveland Clinic Coordinating Centre for Clinical Research and Clinical Research Director of the Cleveland Clinic Centre for Cardiovascular Diagnostics and Prevention.

He is a fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, American College of Cardiology, European College of Cardiology, American Heart Association and Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand. He has published more than 480 original manuscripts, conference proceedings and book chapters, including the New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, Journal of the American Medical Association and Nature Medicine. He is frequently invited to talk on a range of topics in cardiovascular disease at national and international meetings. He is currently President of the Australian Atherosclerosis Society and serves on the board of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand. His editorial responsibilities include membership of the boards of the American College of Cardiology, European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging, Canadian Journal of Cardiology and Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.

His major research interests include studying the impact of factors that influence the ability of HDL to protect against heart disease, development of novel plaque imaging modalities in clinical practice and performing large scale clinical trials of novel therapies.

Greatest Impact Publications

  1. Nissen SE, Tuzcu EM, Brewer HB, Sipahi I, Nicholls SJ, Ganz P, Schoenhagen P, Waters DD, Pepine CJ, Crowe TD, Davidson MH, Deanfield JE, Wisniewski L, Hanyok JJ and Kassalow LM for the ACTIVATE Investigators. Effect of ACAT Inhibition of Progression of Coronary Atherosclerosis. N Engl J Med. 2006;354:1253-63.
  2. Nissen SE, Nicholls SJ, Sipahi I, Libby P, Raichlen JS, Ballantyne CM, Davignon J, Erbel R, Fruchart JC, Tardif JC, Schoenhagen P, Crowe T, Cain V, Wolski K, Goormastic M and Tuzcu EM for the ASTEROID Investigators. Effect of very high-intensity statin therapy on regression of coronary atherosclerosis: Results of the ASTEROID trial. JAMA. 2006;295:1556-65.
  3. Nicholls SJ, Tuzcu EM, Sipahi I, Grasso AW, Schoenhagen P, Hu T, Wolski K, Crowe T, Desai MY, Hazen SL, Kapadia SR and Nissen SE. Statins, HDL cholesterol and regression of coronary atherosclerosis. JAMA. 2007;297(5):499-508.
  4. Nissen SE, Tardif J-C, Nicholls SJ, Revkin JH, Shear CL, Duggan WT, Ruzyllo W, Bachinsky WB, Lasala GP and Tuzcu EM for the ILLUSTRATE Investigators. Effect of torcetrapib on progression of coronary atherosclerosis. N Engl J Med. 2007;356(13):1304-16.
  5. Nissen SE, Nicholls SJ, Wolski K, Howey DC, McErlean E, Wang M-D, Gomez EV and Russo JM. Effects of a potent and selective PPAR-a agonist in subjects with atherogenic dyslipidemia or hypercholesterolemia: a randomised controlled trial. JAMA. 2007;297(12):1362-73.
  6. Lincoff AM, Wolski K, Nicholls SJ and Nissen SE. Effect of pioglitazone on the risk of cardiovascular complications in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a meta-analysis of randomized trials. JAMA. 2007;298:1180-8.
  7. Wang Z, Nicholls SJ, Rodriguez EE, Kummu O, Horkko S, Barnard J, Reynolds WF, Topol EJ, DiDonato JA and Hazen SL. Protein carbamylation as a mechanism linking inflammation, smoking, uremia and atherogenesis. Nature Medicine. 2007;13:1176-84.
  8. Bhattacharyya T, Nicholls SJ, Topol EJ, Zhang R, Yang X, Schmitt D, Fu X, Shao M, Brennan DM, Ellis SG, Brennan M-L, Allayee H, Lusis AJ and Hazen SL. Relationship of paraoxonase (PON1) gene polymorphisms and functional activity with systemic oxidative stress and cardiovascular risk. JAMA. 2008;299(11):1265-76.
  9. Nissen SE, Nicholls SJ, Wolski K, Nesto R, Kupfer S, Perez A, Jure H, De Larochelliere R, Staniloae CS, Mavromatis K, Saw J, Hu B, Lincoff AM, Tuzcu EM for the PERISCOPE Investigators. Comparison of pioglitazone vs glimepiride on progression of coronary atherosclerosis in patients with type 2 diabetes. The PERISCOPE randomised controlled trial. JAMA. 2008; 299(13):1561-73
  10. Nissen SE, Nicholls SJ, Wolski K, Rodes-Cabau J, Cannon CP, Deanfield JE, Despres J-P, Kastelein JJP, Steinhubl ST, Kapadia S, Yasin M, Ruzyllo W, Gaudin C, Job B, Hu B, Bhatt DL, Lincoff AM, Tuzcu EM for the STRADIVARIUS Investigators. Effect of rimonabant on progression of atherosclerosis in patients with abdominal obesity and coronary artery disease. The STRADIVARIUS randomised controlled trial. JAMA. 2008; 299(13):1547-60
  11. Jun M, Foote C, Lv J, Neal B, Patel A, Nicholls SJ, Grobbee DE, Cass A, Chalmers J and Perkovic V. Effect of fibrates on cardiovascular outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet. 2010;375(9729):1875-84.
  12. Nicholls SJ, Ballantyne CM, Barter PJ, Chapman MJ, Erbel RM, Libby P, Raichlen JS, Uno K, Borgman M, Wolski K and Nissen SE. Effect of two intensive statin regimens on progression of coronary disease. N Engl J Med. 2011. 365(22):2078-87.
  13. Nicholls SJ, Brewer HB, Kastelein JJP, Krueger KA, Wang M-D, Shao M, Hu B, McErlean E and Nissen SE. Effects on HDL and LDL cholesterol of evacetrapib, a novel CETP inhibitor, administered as monotherapy or in combination with statins. JAMA. 2011. 306(19):2099-109.
  14. Schwartz GG, Olsson AG, Abt M, Ballantyne CM, Barter PJ, Brumm J, Chaitman BR, Holme IM, Kallend D, Leiter LA, Leitersdorf E, McMurray JJV, Mundl H, Nicholls SJ, Shah PK, Tardif J-C and Wright RS. Effects of dalcetrapib in patients with recent acute coronary syndrome. N Engl J Med. 2012. 367(22):2089-99.
  15. Nicholls SJ, Bakris GL, Kastelein JJP, Menon V, Williams B, Armbrecht J, Brunel P, Nicolaides M, Hsu A, Hu B, Fang H, Puri R, Uno K, Kataoka Y, Bash D and Nissen SE. Effect of aliskiren on progression of coronary disease in patients with prehypertension. The AQUARIUS randomized clinical trial. JAMA. 2013.
  16. Nicholls SJ, Kastelein JJP, Schwartz GG, Bash D, Rosenson RS, Cavender MA, Brennan DM, Koenig W, Jukema JW, Nambi V, Wright RS, Menon V, Lincoff AM and Nissen SE. Varespladib and cardiovascular events in patients with an acute coronary syndrome: the VISTA-16 randomized clinical trial. JAMA. 2013
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SAHMRI is located on the traditional lands of the Kaurna Nation.

The SAHMRI community acknowledges and respects the traditional owners, the family clans who are the Kaurna Nation from the Adelaide Plains region of South Australia. We acknowledge the clans of the Kaurna Nation and the sacred knowledge they hold for their country. We pay our respects to the Kaurna Nation, their ancestors and the descendants of these living family clans today.