We are launching a new and exciting fellowship scheme supported by Imperial College BHF Centre of Excellence. The centre is led by Professor Martin Wilkins and includes world leading scientists across a diverse range of disciplines united in their drive to apply their research to address cardiovascular disease.

The centre is run from the National Heart and Lung Institute, which is large and highly successful department within the School of Medicine at Imperial College. The CRE research environment is multi-disciplinary, including close collaboration with disciplines including Bioengineering, Data Science and Chemistry, it is progressive, innovative, translational and cuts across basic and clinical science.

Our culture is supportive and inclusive.

The scheme is designed to fund the brightest and most committed early career scientists whose goal is to contribute at the highest level to delivering research into cardiovascular diseases.

Current Fellows

Dr Blerina Ahmetaj-Shala, Research Associate, Cardio-Respiratory Interface

My research is focused on using circulating progenitor cells to study vascular physiology/ pathophysiology and I am lucky enough to be located in an institution which is home to the largest concentration of leading scientists in progenitor cell research.

Our regular seminars and network meetings, such as those provided by the Vascular Science Network, have increased networking opportunities with people at all levels and provided me with a platform to present my work and receive excellent constructive feedback.

My recent collaborations with the Department of Infectious Diseases working with live SARS-CoV-2 has opened up a completely new but very exciting opportunity to expand my research niche and importantly contribute to COVID-19 research. As a member of the EDI committee, I have been involved in monitoring and evaluating policies/ practise for inequalities and contributed to our Athena Swan application.

The diverse NHLI ‘Science and Culture’ webinars supported by the committee have been a particular highlight at the end of the week. Finally, I have taken full advantage of our entitled 10 days training to gain official teaching qualifications provided by the superb Educational Development Unit where I have made many new friends. This includes obtaining my Fellowship in the Higher Education Academy and most recently my master’s in education.

Dr Rasha Al-Lamee, Clinical Senior Lecturer, Cardiovascular Trials and Epidemiology

Working at the National Heart and Lung Institute is full of endless opportunities.

Imperial College offers a fantastic environment for fostering new cross-sector and cross-discipline collaborations. It has given me a platform to pursue ground-breaking novel research in the placebo-controlled testing of interventional procedures. Even when my results have been controversial, I was supported and encouraged to keep focussing on rigorous science aimed at improving clinical outcomes.

Dr Ahran Arnold, Clinical Research Fellow, Cardiovascular Trials and Epidemiology

I am a BHF Imperial CoRE post-doctoral research fellow at NHLI, having completed an NIHR Imperial BRC funded PhD at NHLI in cardiac electrophysiology and prior to that an academic clinical fellowship at NHLI. Through these roles, I have spent over six years as a research fellow at NHLI, which have been hugely enjoyable and productive.

My work focuses on physiological haemodynamic biomarkers, mechanisms and innovations in pacemaker therapy, machine learning for electrophysiology and sudden arrhythmic death risk stratification.

The most important and helpful benefit of NHLI for my research career so far has been NHLI fostering collaborations between academics within NHLI and across different Imperial departments as well as with international academic groups, established industry and start-ups.

NHLI-facilitated collaborations have led to joint grant applications between my group and Imperial engineering departments as well as projects with innovative start-ups. 

Dr Wenjia Bai, Lecturer in Artificial Intelligence in Medicine, Department of Computing and Department of Brain Sciences

I have enjoyed my experience within the department. I was an engineer or computer scientist by training. I got the chance to work closely with cardiologists, radiologists and electrophysiologists within a diverse and supportive research environment. This allows me to see the gap between latest computer science technologies and clinical needs at cardiovascular imaging, and to re-think how to best develop a technology that solves the real-world problems. I am continuosly working towards this direction.

Dr Ramzi Khamis, Clinical Senior Lecturer in Cardiology, Vascular Science

Working at Imperial comes with many advantages, but the most obvious one is having access to a large resource of expertise and collaboration opportunities. For me as, as a translational cardiovascular medicine clinician scientist and a BHF fellow, this is invaluable as my group can tap into the experience of both basic scientists and clinical scientists from a wide variety of disciplines with ease. This is of course fascinated further by being part of the BHF CRE umbrella.

Dr Sally Kim, Research Associate, Cardio-Respiratory Interface

As an early career researcher, I have maximised my time at NHLI by learning new skills in lung cell and molecular biology within the highly collaborative environment. I acquired essential writing skills for grants and fellowships with my mentor’s guidance and excellent support from the Postdoc and Fellows Development Centre.

Dr Nicholas Kirkby, Research Fellow, Cardio-Respiratory Interface

I’ve been working as an independent research fellow in NHLI for 7 years, first through the Imperial College Research Fellowship and now through a British Heart Foundation Intermediate Fellowship. My progress and successes have been only possible because of the extraordinary mentoring I have received from academic colleagues within NHLI. This has been firmly supported by the enriching and collaborative environment of the institute and across Imperial College that have allowed me to develop my research in basic vascular pharmacology to incorporate the latest approaches and focus it towards rapid translation.

Dr Charis Pericleous, Research Fellow, Vascular Science

My research has benefited immensely from the intellectual and practical expertise across NHLI, and I have seized opportunities to form exciting new collaborations both within and outside the Department that will be integral to my career progression.

Dr Christopher Rhodes, Non-Clinical Lecturer in Pulmonary Vascular Disease, Vascular Science

Being a research fellow in the NHLI offers the opportunity to be part of a wider community with interests and expertise in topics close to home such as vascular biology combined with close links to groups leading research into broader fields such as epigenomic regulation of disease, cancer and population studies such as UK Biobank.

Dr Marta Varela, Research Fellow, Myocardial Function

For my research I aim to use cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and computational models of cardiac biophysics to better characterise and understand the mechanisms of arrhythmias.

I have enjoyed the truly disciplinary environment at NHLI and also the many opportunities to also engage closely with colleagues from other departments at Imperial. NHLI’s ambitions to enable excellent high-impact research resonate closely with my own aims and it has been a joy to do research in this environment over the past 10 months.

Dr James Ware, Reader in Genomic Medicine, Genetics and Imaging

I have appreciated the wide range of expertise and different perspectives within the department, supporting studies across a range of scales from single molecules to human populations, and reaching from bedside to bench and back again.  I have also found the environment very supportive during phases of transition between clinical training, research training, and research independence.  There is a further wealth of complementary expertise in neighbouring departments within and without the faculty, making ambitious and important research questions tractable through inter-disciplinary collaboration.