The renewed British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence at Imperial will be funded until 2024.
The new award to the Faculty of Medicine builds on the success of previous British Heart Foundation (BHF) funding and will use convergent science at Imperial College London to drive innovation and improvement in cardiovascular health.
Professor Martin Wilkins, Vice Dean (Research) of the Faculty of Medicine, will lead the Centre from 1 April. This follows more than a decade under the direction of Professor Michael Schneider, British Heart Foundation Simon Marks Professor of Regenerative Cardiology, who steps down from his role at the end of March.
"This is an exciting opportunity to show what Imperial can do by bringing smart people from different disciplines together to focus on an important health problem." Professor Martin Wilkins Vice Dean (Research), Faculty of Medicine
An important goal of Imperial’s renewed BHF Centre of Research Excellence is to develop personalised healthcare for cardiovascular disease. The Centre has identified cardiovascular engineering, imaging, genetics and genomics, and population sciences as key themes and will draw on artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to develop tailored treatments and management strategies. Imperial will receive £4m from the Research Excellence Award between April this year and 2024.
Professor Wilkins said “This is an exciting opportunity to show what Imperial can do by bringing smart people from different disciplines together to focus on an important health problem.
"It comes at a time when we are co-localising bioengineers, chemists and public health experts at White City next to physician-scientists and our NIHR Clinical Research on our Hammersmith Campus. We expect this to hasten translation and impact in clinical practice, bringing benefits to patients sooner.”
A core use of the funding is to support early-career researchers working collaboratively across traditional disciplines; bringing biomedical specialists together with those with engineering and mathematical expertise.
British Heart Foundation funding
Despite much progress the BHF reports that over 400 people in the UK still die every day because of heart and circulatory diseases. By investing in research they support scientists to make life-saving discoveries and have a worldwide impact on heart and circulatory disease research, with the ultimate aim of preventing more deaths.
BHF Medical Director Professor Sir Nilesh Samani said “Our investment through these awards will bring together the best and brightest minds across medicine, tech and engineering to foster collaboration and encourage innovative thinking.”
A decade of advancing cardiovascular research
Imperial’s BHF Centre of Research Excellence was first funded for a period of six years in 2008. Professor Michael Schneider led the Centre with the aim of promoting innovative, world-leading cardiovascular research and training at the interface of science, technology and medicine. The Centre was then renewed by the BHF in 2014 for an additional five years.
Professor Schneider said "We were delighted for Imperial to be one of the four founding BHF Centres of Research Excellence. For a decade, we have helped drive cardiovascular research and training at the interface between the life sciences and the physical or computational sciences.
"This pioneering approach is the Centre’s greatest contribution, now embodied in an array of cross-Faculty centres and networks that have critical mass of their own."
In 2012 Esther Rantzen, who lost her husband to heart disease, visited Imperial to learn about the research being undertaken at the Centre.
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