Isabel Gonçalves

Isabel Gonçalves

Professor, Senior Consultant

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Personal profile


The vulnerable atherosclerotic plaque: mechanisms of development and techniques for imaging

Many victims of heart attacks and stroke die before reaching the hospital. The most frequent cause of myocardial infarction and stroke is the rupture of an atherosclerotic plaque with the subsequent formation of a thrombus that occludes the vessel.

The rupture-prone plaques, are called vulnerable plaques(VP) and usually have a large lipid and necrotic core, are rich in inflammation and are covered by a thin fibrous cap. There are currently no good techniques for the timely identification of VP. Therefore the development of biomarkers and imaging techniques that could identify individuals with VP, would allow the prevention of many of these severe symptoms, disability or death. Additionally it would also be possible to assess the effects of current or even newer treatment strategies on the plaques.

Our goals are:
1) To study the mechanisms of atherosclerosis and their time line using C14 dating method.
2) To develop and evaluate a new non-invasive ultrasound-based technology to identify VP in humans.
3) To examine whether there are associations between gene expression, lipidomics, extracellular matrix and inflammation in human atherosclerotic plaques (from our unique biobank) in relation to the risk of developing cardiovascular events and thus find new markers or treatment modalities.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

UKÄ subject classification

  • Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems

Free keywords

  • Atherosclerosis
  • plaque
  • imaging


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