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.
et al., 2023, Generation of left ventricle-like cardiomyocytes with improved structural, functional, and metabolic maturity from human pluripotent stem cells., Cell Rep Methods, Vol:3
et al., 2023, Remote-refocusing light-sheet fluorescence microscopy enables 3D imaging of electromechanical coupling of hiPSC-derived and adult cardiomyocytes in co-culture, Scientific Reports, Vol:13, ISSN:2045-2322, Pages:1-14
et al., 2023, High-speed 2D light-sheet fluorescence microscopy enables quantification of spatially varying calcium dynamics in ventricular cardiomyocytes, Frontiers in Physiology, Vol:14, ISSN:1664-042X, Pages:1-14
et al., 2022, GPER limits adverse changes to Ca2+ signalling and arrhythmogenic activity in ovariectomised guinea pig cardiomyocytes, Frontiers in Physiology, Vol:13, ISSN:1664-042X
et al., 2022, Adaptive light-sheet fluorescence microscopy with a deformable mirror for video-rate volumetric imaging, Applied Physics Letters, Vol:121, ISSN:0003-6951, Pages:1-7