Cardiovascular Research and Development

Cardiovascular Research Group

We are a group of clinical academics and basic scientists using complementary approaches to understand cardiovascular disease throughout life from in utero development to the oldest old, with a shared aim of understanding pathogenesis, decreasing prevalence and improving management.  Our work encompasses three principal areas: 

  • cardiac development
  • cardiovascular ageing
  • cardiovascular regenerative medicine

Cardiovascular Development

Dr Simon Bamforth Dr Bill Chaudhry  Professor Deborah Henderson Dr. Annette Meeson Mr. Andrew Owens Dr. Helen Phillips Dr Helen Arthur
Congenital cardiovascular malformations (CVMs) are among the most common birth defects, occurring in almost 1% of live births. We use  mouse and zebrafish models to elucidate the genes and physical forces involved  in normal cardiovascular development (with particular focus on the role of Wnt, Rho, Tbx1, Pax9 and TGFbeta pathways).  In parallel, we conduct human genetics studies in large cohorts of families affected by CVM to identify additional genetic and genomic variants that contribute to disease risk.  A  further aim of the cardiovascular research group is to use our understanding of cardiovascular development and genetics to inform regenerative medicine strategies.

Cardiovascular Ageing

Professor Ioakim Spyridopoulos Mr. Andrew Owens Dr Guy MacGowan Dr Gavin Richardson
Ageing is the principal risk factor for the major cardiovascular causes of population morbidity and mortality, such as hypertension and coronary heart disease (CHD).  We are investigating the mechanisms by which ageing of the immune system and the effects of ageing on telomeres (specialised structures at the ends of chromosomes) affects susceptibility to CHD. Clinical MRI is used to evaluate age-related changes in cardiac function and energetics. In addition, we use genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to identify genes associated with increased risk of hypertension and coronary artery disease.   Our goal is to discover biomarkers predictive of cardiovascular outcomes, and new therapeutic targets to ameliorate the detrimental effects of cardiovascular ageing.

Cardiovascular Repair and Regeneration

Dr Bill Chaudhry Dr. Annette Meeson Mr. Andrew Owens Dr Helen Arthur Dr Guy MacGowan Professor Majlinda Lako Dr Lyle Armstrong Dr Gavin Richardson

With the increasing age of the population, the prevalence of heart failure has increased substantially and we treat suitable patients with left ventricular assist devices, which act as a bridge to transplantation or in certain cases can help recovery. However, the heart has limited repair potential and there is an immense challenge to develop effective heart repair therapies. Different approaches are needed depending on the stage of disease.  Our team are exploring ways of repairing the heart and improving heart function using complementary approaches in mouse and zebrafish models. We aim to promote vascular regeneration at an early stage of myocardial ischaemia and to develop interventions to activate resident cardiac stem cells at all stages of disease progression.  Crucially, this work is supported by analysis of resident stem cells in human heart tissues. Patients with familial muscle myopathies are also at high risk of cardiomyopthy and we are using mouse models to investigate suitable therapies. Furthermore, induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSc) provide an important patient specific cellular model for investigating familial cardiomyopathies and for developing vascular regeneration therapy.

Principle Investigators