Professor Ken MacLeod leaving NHLI


Ken with Hugh Brady

Ken receives Long Servers Award from Imperial's President Hugh Brady

Professor Ken MacLeod will be leaving the National Heart and Lung Institute at the end of 2023.

Ken has been at Imperial for 37 years, joining in 1986. Most recently he has served as the Head of Section for Cardiac Function at NHLI. A friendly and energising colleague and leader he will be missed by many across the Department. He plans to be spending more of his time engaging in life affirming pursuits such as skiing and travel. Ken contributes generously to teaching across the Faculty of Medicine and has taught numerous students in his time at Imperial. He is Director of Conduct in the School of Medicine and chairs the Student Conduct and Capability Group (SCCG) that oversees all aspects of undergraduate student conduct, professionalism and health in relation to fitness to practise medicine. 

His strong sense of citizenship has been a binding force, particularly during his time as Section Head, and his Christmas quiz is legendary. Ken will be greatly missed in many ways by students and staff alike” Professor Sian Harding

Professor 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. 

Amongst Ken’s list of achievements are his book "An essential introduction to cardiac electrophysiology" written in 2014, sitting on the Editorial Boards of Experimental Physiology, British Journal of Pharmacology and Cardiovascular Research, and winning the Rector’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2012 and the Rector’s Award for Excellence in Research Supervision in 2013.

We asked some of Ken’s colleagues to share their thoughts.

“It has been fantastic to work with Ken. He has been such a generous and caring head of Section, who has nurtured a cohesive and collegial environment. His open and supportive approach to leadership has given us all a platform to do our best science. His door was always open for scientific and career advice. I would like to highlight though his mentorship of all career stages, especially his support for early career researchers. Throughout his career he has dedicated himself to promoting the wellbeing of students and staff, and by doing so has made NHLI a better place to study and work in. He will be sorely missed but I’m jealous of the great plans he has for the next step!” Professor Tristan Rodriguez

"Ken has been my line manager in my transition to an academic position and during the first years establishing my group. During this period, he has been extremely supportive, and his open-door policy made it easy to find a steer when any problem arises. Ken is a gentleman and brings in humour that always makes you feel comfortable. He provided insightful and balanced suggestions at every turn, creating a great environment for every member of the Section from students to faculty members. His decades of expertise in electrophysiology, his knowledge and dedication to education will be greatly missed. Finally, his laughter and Christmas quiz will remain in the history of our section!" Dr Michela Noseda 

“Ken has contributed enormously to the life of the College with his good humour, wisdom and integrity. He was intimately involved with various aspects of the NHLI ‘Core Course’, which ran much longer ago than Ken would care to remember, but which formed the basis of some of the early aspects of the courses now run by the Graduate School. He was of much greater help to me, personally, than he probably realises, in facilitating the devising of the cardiac and cardiovascular aspects of the 2nd year elective on ‘Cardiovascular and Thoracic Biology’ on the new BSc in Medical Biosciences, now some six years ago. And his enormous patience, thoroughness, and insight as part of the NHLI Postgraduate Research Mitigating Circumstances Panel has ensured our students who are facing challenges to their education are treated fairly and with the utmost care. We’ll sorely miss you, Ken” Dr Duncan Rogers

"The Heads of Section across NHLI play a vital role in the Department’s success, development and culture. We have been lucky to have Ken give his time to this role and many other roles across College. Ken’s humour, mentorship and kindness, given in such generous doses, have added immeasurable value to our community. Enjoy your new adventures Ken as you hang up your hat at NHLI” Professor Clare Lloyd, Interim Head of NHLI

“Ken has been a fantastic colleague and friend for 35 years, from our times in Wimpole Street, then the Brompton campus and finally Hammersmith. He has helped keep the cardiac science group at the cutting edge internationally with his technical advances. His strong sense of citizenship has been a binding force, particularly during his time as Section Head, and his Christmas quiz is legendary. Ken will be greatly missed in many ways by students and staff alike” Professor Sian Harding

I have worked with Professor MacLeod at the NHLI more than 15 years. Ken has a bubbling personality, he always energised other people around him. Over the last several years he has successfully worked as the Head of the Cardiac Function Section. He was constantly supportive of my endeavours, eager to offer practical help; he was keen to move forward and improve modern biophysical techniques in the Section. His fluid and inquisitive mind illuminated the seminars and scientific discussions in the Section. He was instrumental to the establishing of the Multi-faculty centre for Cellular Mechanosensing and Functional Microscopy (CMFM) which augmented the prestige of the Section. Ken knows how to get the best from his students, being a very experienced lecturer and mentor for many of them. As head of Section, he was keen to support post-docs and PhD students’ development” Professor Julia Gorelik

Thank you Ken



Ms Helen Johnson

Ms Helen Johnson
National Heart & Lung Institute

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Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 6843

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