An opportunity for medical, veterinary and dental students to gain an in-depth knowledge and understanding of cardiovascular disease.
The BSc in Cardiovascular Sciences programme is designed to provide a thorough understanding of the scientific basis of cardiovascular disease and how this relates to diagnosis and treatment. The course focuses on the main cardiovascular disease areas and has a strong translational emphasis. Topics covered include:
- the normal functioning of the heart and vasculature,
- the mechanisms that are involved in a particular disease
- how these affect individual patients and populations
- the scientific basis of established and novel treatments
- an introduction to the principles of epidemiology, diagnostic imaging and therapeutic strategies as applied to cardiovascular disease
The programme aims to create clinicians and academics with the ability to interpret and inform best practice, and to extend boundaries of current thinking and advance medicine. It also provides the foundation in scientific methodology and analytical approaches from which the student can grow into a competent clinician and clinical researcher that could lead to postgraduate research studies.
A diverse team of clinicians and scientists based at the National Heart & Lung Institute with a broad range of expertise within Cardiovascular Sciences support the programme:
- Course Director: Dr Fu Siong Ng, Clinical Senior Lecturer in Cardiac Electrophysiology
- Deputy Course Director: Dr Graeme Birdsey, Senior Lecturer in Vascular Science
- Module 1 Assessment Lead: Prof Sian Harding, Professor of Cardiac Pharmacology
- Module 2 Literature Review Lead: Dr Michela Noseda, Lecturer in Molecular Pathology
- Module 2 Clinical Case Lead: Dr Rasha Al-Lamee, Clinical Senior Lecturer in Interventional Cardiology
- Module 3 (Projects) Lead: Dr Andrew Cowburn, Senior Lecturer in Vascular Science
- Teaching Fellow: Dr Nida Sajjad
- Course Administrator: Uzma Chaudhary
Aims and objectives
The programme will give a firm grounding in the scientific foundations of the study of cardiovascular disease.
By the end of the programme, students will:
- Demonstrate a sound knowledge and understanding of cardiovascular science, extending to current research controversies and challenges.
- Understand and critically appraise scientific evidence on which this cardiovascular science knowledge is based.
- Understand and apply the fundamental methods, principles and practice of scientific research within the field of cardiovascular sciences.
- Be able to relate scientific knowledge to the epidemiology, investigation, management and treatment of cardiovascular disease.
Hear from Course Directors and our students
Introduction by course director Dr Fu Siong Ng
Course director Dr Fu Siong Ng provides an overview of what the intercalated BSc in Cardiovascular Sciences covers.
Find out more about the research projects from Dr Graeme Birdsey
Dr Graeme Birdsey, Deputy Director of the intercalated BSc in Cardiovascular Sciences, explains how students on the course are able to carry out a research project in cutting-edge research being undertaken at Imperial.
Find out how Taesoon has found the course
Taesoon is an external student from the University of Liverpool on the intercalated BSc in Cardiovascular Sciences at Imperial.
Find out why Rachel chose Imperial
Rachel is an external student from the University of Manchester on the intercalated BSc in Cardiovascular Sciences at Imperial.
Find out what Sharan likes most about the course
Sharan is a fourth year medical student at Imperial on the intercalated BSc in Cardiovascular Sciences.
The programme will comprise a 12-week teaching block (Module 1) where students will gain specialism-specific knowledge and skills, alongside your research training of core research knowledge and skills. This is followed by a 4-week block for self-directed learning, focusing on appraising the literature and on clinical case studies. There is then a 12-week research project.
Module 1 (12 weeks):
- Block 1: The Science of Congenital Heart Disease and Arrhythmia
- Block 2: The Science of Heart Failure
- Block 3: The Science of Vascular Disease
Module 2 (4 weeks): Self-directed learning, independent & group work, clinical case study
Module 3 (15 weeks): Research project
Module 1 - Block 1
Module 1: Block 1 - The Science of Congenital Heart Disease and Arrhythmia
Aims and Content
- To understand the structure and development of the heart, including the cardiac myocyte, and the interconnections between myocytes.
- To understand the basis of congenital heart disease, its occurrence in the population, the clinical studies and treatment.
- To be able to describe the basis and the mechanisms that bring about contraction and relaxation of the myocyte (excitation-contraction coupling) in normal and diseased hearts.
- To dissect the electrical nature of the heartbeat and understand how the electrical properties of the heart can fail, giving origin to arrhythmia in individual patients and within populations.
- To have knowledge of developing technologies and novel approaches for imaging and treatment of arrhythmias.
Module 1 - Block 2
Module 1: Block 2 - The Science of Heart Failure
Aims and Content
- To understand the nature of cardiac contraction, how this is regulated and what causes it to fail.
- To discuss the different forms of cardiomyopathies and their molecular basis.
- To provide an introduction to the imaging techniques used to assess cardiovascular anatomy and function.
- To understand the methods to perform clinical trials in heart failure and discuss their impact and relevance for clinical practice.
- To explore established and novel therapeutic strategies in heart failure, with special sessions on gene therapy and stem cell therapy. The physiology of cardiac regeneration will be explored and current views on reactivation of cell cycle as treatment strategy will be discussed.
Module 1 - Block 3
Module 1: Block 3 - The Science of Vascular Disease
Aims and Content
- To introduce students to the range of physiological functions performed by the vasculature.
- To understand normal vascular biology and its derangement in disease, with emphasis on atherosclerosis, hypertension and coronary artery disease.
- To understand the basic pharmacology of the cardiovascular system, including cellular and molecular aspects of vascular function.
- To discuss the epidemiology of vascular disease, preventive strategies and novel treatments.
- To introduce a range of surgical approaches on coronary artery disease.
Module 2: Self-directed learning, involving a literature review and a clinical case study (Science in Context)
Aims and content
- Literature review: Assessment of group work and appraisal of literature and evidence base.
- Group literature review - critical appraisal and rebuttal: Students will submit review, refereed review and revised review.
- Clinical case study based on current and emerging evidence and guidelines. Students will visit clinics, catheter laboratory and wards for induction and receive clinical case study and scenario tutorials. Examples of cases for 2020-2021 include atrial fibrillation, coronary artery disease and hypertension.
Module 3: Research project
Supervisors will present proposed projects at the ‘Meet the Supervisor’ session during Block 1 of Module 1. Students will be encouraged to contact the supervisors of the project they wish to undertake. A wide variety of laboratory-based and clinical based projects will be offered and students will join and be fully embedded within a leading research group at the National Heart & Lung Institute. Many previous students have gone on to present their findings at national and international conferences, and authored or co-authored scientific papers. In 2020 a student from the Cardiovascular BSc pathway, Cheng Chan, was awarded the Evelyn de Rothschild Prize for the best overall BSc research project.
Examples of BSc Project Titles in Cardiovascular Sciences for 2020-2021:
- Electrocardiographic imaging before and after bariatric surgery
- Machine Learning for Tachycardia Diagnosis
- Application of AI to coronary physiology data processing and interpretation
- Myocardial slices for the study of mechanosensitive molecular mechanisms
- 3D bio-printing to grow a blood vessel from human outgrowth endothelial and smooth muscle cells
- Effect of adipose tissue on cardiac electrophysiology
- Effect of image resolution on DT-CMR based measures of microstructure
- Comparison of clinical angina and experimentally inducible angina
- Evaluating the effects of failing hearts-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) on contractility and calcium handling of living myocardial slices
Further Information and Application Guidance
With the exception of BSc Management and BSc Biomedical Engineering, all of Imperial College London's intercalated BSc courses run from September until May. The courses comprise a 12 week teaching block where the students gain specialism-specific knowledge and skills, alongside their research training of core research knowledge and skills. All students also perform a 15 week research project within their specialism.
More information about applying for an intercalated BSc course at Imperial College London and also the structure of our courses can be found in the downloadable Imperial College London Intercalated BSc Guide - 2021-22 Entry (PDF).
If you have any queries about the application process, please email the Faculty Education Office (BSc Team) at firstname.lastname@example.org.