Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. In the UK, it is estimated that 7.4 million people (~11% of the population) are living with a heart or circulatory disease (British Heart Foundation, Jan 2020). Researchers in the cardiovascular research group use a multi-disciplinary approach to better understand cardiovascular disease, with the ultimate aim of improving therapeutic strategies. Experimental approaches vary including cellular and molecular analysis of biochemical pathways in health and disease, physiological and pharmacological studies of cardiovascular function, and integrative approaches using animal models of disease.

The cardiovascular group are active in a number of key areas. Prof Annette Graham’s work focuses on factors contributing to dysregulation of lipid and lipoprotein metabolism in a number of differing contexts, including atherosclerosis.  A recently completed (Sept 2020) translational project, funded by Heart Research UK, studied microRNA sequences involved in macrophage ‘foam’ cell formation; other studies have examined the role of mitochondrial, endosomal and cytosolic lipid transporters in regulating intracellular lipid metabolism.  Dr Niall Macquaide studies signalling and electrophysiology in cardiac muscle cells to gain insight into arrhythmias in heart disease. He uses cutting edge super resolution microscopy and patch clamp methods to study abnormal calcium homeostasis. There is also a strong emphasis on research into the pathogenesis of pulmonary hypertension. Dr David Welsh’s work ranges from in vitro cellular and molecular studies to in vivo invasive studies, and non-invasive cardiac imaging in the field of pulmonary hypertension. Dr Yvonne Dempsie is interested in the role of connexins in the development of pulmonary hypertension; she also has an interest in the role of sex hormones in the development of this disease. Her research utilises both in vitro and in vivo approaches.

Our research group has developed numerous collaborations throughout the UK and worldwide, not only with other academic institutions but also with the NHS (we collaborate closely with the Scottish Pulmonary Vascular Unit), and with key industry partners.