Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineNational Heart & Lung Institute

Professor of Cardiac Physiology



+44 (0)20 7594 2734k.t.macleod




Miss Natasha Richmond +44 (0)20 7594 6457




431ICTEM buildingHammersmith Campus





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 is currently Head of the Cardiac Function Section in NHLI.  He is Director of Conduct in the School of Medicine and chairs the Student Monitoring Group that oversees all aspects of undergraduate student conduct, professionalism and health in relation to fitness to practise medicine.  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.

His book:  MacLeod, K.T. "An essential introduction to cardiac electrophysiology" (Imperial College Press, Singapore, London) 2014. ISBN: 978-1-908977-34-2 is a recommended text at Imperial and other universities.

He is a member of the American Heart Association, British Society for Cardiovascular Research, International Society for Heart Research, The Physiological Society, The Pharmacological 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 Cardiovascular Research.

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.



Firth J, Yang H-Y, Francis A, et al., 2020, The effect of estrogen on intracellular Ca2+ and Na+ regulation in heart failure, Jacc: Basic to Translational Science, Vol:5, ISSN:2452-302X, Pages:901-912

Lyon A, Babalis D, Morley-Smith AC, et al., 2020, Investigation of the safety and feasibility of AAV1/SERCA2a gene transfer in patients with chronic heart failure supported with a left ventricular assist device – the SERCA-LVAD TRIAL, Gene Therapy, Vol:27, ISSN:0969-7128, Pages:579-590

Wright P, Tsui S, Francis A, et al., 2020, Approaches to high-throughput analysis of cardiomyocyte contractility, Frontiers in Physiology, Vol:11, ISSN:1664-042X

Sparks H, Dvinskikh L, Firth J, et al., 2020, Development a flexible light-sheet fluorescence microscope for high-speed 3D imaging of calcium dynamics and 3D imaging of cellular microstructure, Journal of Biophotonics, Vol:13, ISSN:1864-063X

Ke H-Y, Yang H-S, Francis AJ, et al., 2020, Changes in cellular Ca2+ and Na+ regulation during the progression towards heart failure in the guinea pig, The Journal of Physiology, Vol:598, ISSN:0022-3751, Pages:1339-1359

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