Husband and wife team associate professors Aaron Sverdlov and Doan Ngo spend their days mending broken hearts.
Specifically, the Newcastle cardiologist and pharmacist are working out how to keep cancer survivors' hearts healthier for longer.
It's a passion project, the couple say, that they are approaching differently to any other researchers in Australia, and a challenge that's becoming "increasingly important" as more people overcome the disease.
"After surviving cancer, a third of patients will die from heart disease within seven years," Associate Professor Sverdlov said.
"It may or may not relate to cancer but it's a significantly higher rate than those people without it."
The crux of the problem lies in the heavy toll chemotherapy has on the heart, and a crossover in the profiles of patients who have cancer and cardiovascular issues.
"Older age, obesity, poor diet and smoking are risk factors for both cancer and heart disease," Associate Professor Ngo said. "And heart failure is one of the more detrimental adverse affects of cancer therapies.
"We want to find out which cancer patients are most likely to develop heart problems that are aggressive and will require early intervention, and in which patients it's more unlikely."
The couple's interest in bettering outcomes for patients, and their romantic interest in each other, began 18 years ago at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Adelaide.
"I was a clinical pharmacist and Aaron was an intern working in the same unit," Associate Professor Ngo said.
"We just had a few coffee dates in the hospital cafeteria and went for dinner a couple of times. It kind of went from there.
"I did a pHD in cardiology, and Aaron subsequently trained in cardiology and went on to do a pHD."
They married in 2009 and developed their joint interest in cancer and heart disease while working in Boston and Adelaide. They were recruited by Hunter New England Health and the University of Newcastle last year.
Rather than being a hindrance, the pair said working together allows them to pool their knowledge.
"I guess a lot of the time my weaknesses are his strength and his weaknesses are my strength," Associate Professor Ngo said.
The pair believe their research team is the only team in Australia studying the impacts of cancer therapies on the heart from a molecular level all the way to a patient level, while treating patients as well.
"We work across Hunter New England's sites, so John Hunter Hospital, Calvary Mater and HMRI," Associate Professor Sverdlov said. "It's called a bench to bedside methodology.
"Our general advice is patients undergoing current cancer treatment look beyond the diagnosis and continue to look after their general health, exercise and eat well to the extent that they can."