Rising cardiovascular population health researcher

Luna Xu profile photo

Early this year, Dr Luna Xu was awarded a UNSW Cardiac Vascular and Metabolic Medicine (CVMM) Collaborative Grant, and a NSW Cardiovascular Research Network (CVRN) Professional Development Award. Dr Xu is developing her reputation as an up-and-coming researcher in the field of cardiovascular population health, recognised in these two recent successes.

Dr Xu is a Scientia Lecturer and National Heart Foundation of Australia Post-doctoral Research Fellow in the School of Population Health.

What is the key focus of this research?

I am fortunate to receive the CVMM grant, which provided me an opportunity to foster new collaborations with the School of Computer Science and Engineering and the School of Health Science at UNSW. The funded project aims to use AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology to predict cardiovascular risk. We also aim to develop user-friendly APP that allows the public to self-predict their cardiovascular risk based on their dietary intake, improving public engagement and awareness on the importance of healthy eating.

The CVRN professional development grant recognises my track record and upward career trajectory in the field of cardiovascular health. It offers me an exciting opportunity to present my recent work to the Scientific Meeting of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand, held in Adelaide in August 2023.

What motivated you to take up this topic?

In epidemiology, it is common to use a traditional statistical model to determine diet risks and cardiovascular events, but often yielding conflicting results. This is due to the lack of quality data on dietary behaviour, mainly due to missing, noisy, inconsistent or unavailable data. New approaches need to be developed to address this problem. So, we proposed an AI-driven approach, aimed to provide accurate results in terms of cardiovascular risk prediction.

What do you hope to achieve with this research?

We aim to predict accurate cardiovascular risk in guiding healthy eating. In addition, as it is important to give consumers a clear understanding on the consequences for their cardiovascular risk based on their diet, we wish to develop an app. This app will allow consumers to self-predict their cardiovascular risk by improving their awareness of the importance of healthy eating. 

Who are you collaborating with to achieve these outcomes?

This project is bringing together a new network that will strengthen the collaboration between the School of Population Health (Dr Luna Xu and Prof. Alta Schutte) and the Centre for Primary Health Care Equity (A/Prof. Margo Barr). It will foster new collaborations with the School of Computer Science and Engineering (A/Prof. Yulei Sui) and the School of Health Science (A/Prof. Sara Grafenauer). 

To ensure that our developed app effectively meets the needs of consumers, we will actively engage with the consumers with Cardiovascular Health Consumer Panel at The George Institute for Global Health for our project.

July 2023

Scientia lecturer Luna Xu
Scientia lecturer
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