Ken MacLeod was educated at Aberdeen and Edinburgh Universities and, before working his way south, spent two years at the University of California in the laboratory of Don Bers. Here he acquired an interest in the mechanisms underlying cardiac excitation-contraction coupling and brought this research topic back to the Department of Cardiac Medicine headed by Peter Harris in what was then called the Cardiothoracic Institute. He extended the scope of the research to investigate how the electrical and contractile events in the heart change during the progression of ischaemic disease and the development of cardiac hypertrophy and failure.
The research projects presently underway in the laboratory continue to examine the processes that control cardiac cell contraction in health and disease. Investigation of these processes are fundamental to our understanding of the workings of the heart, will allow a more logical approach to therapy and, in the longer term, may provide impetus for the generation of novel treatments.
To study these processes at the single cell to whole heart levels his laboratory uses a variety of physiological and biophysical techniques including microscopy (classical fluorescence and surface-scanning confocal), in vitro contractility measurements, real-time spatial calcium imaging, ion-sensitive electrodes, patch and voltage clamping, microelectrode arrays and whole body physiological monitoring with implantables and echocardiography.
Ken has held various academic positions within the National Heart and Lung Institute and Imperial College London. He teaches cardiac electrophysiology and the cardiovascular system to medical undergraduates and postgraduates at all stages of their training. Past members of his lab now hold academic positions in medicine, work for various pharmaceutical companies (GSK, Genzyme, Pfizer) or are established cardiologists.
He is a member of the American Heart Association, British Society for Cardiovascular Research, International Society for Heart Research, The Physiological Society and various working groups of the European Society of Cardiology.
He is on the Editorial Boards of Experimental Physiology, British Journal of Pharmacology and Physiological Reports.
He has won the Rector’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2012 and the Rector’s Award for Excellence in Research Supervision in 2013.
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