Team awarded £5m from BHF to support world-leading heart research

The British Heart Foundation has awarded funding to advance cardiovascular research and ’digital twins’ technology.

Researchers at the National Heart and Lung Institute (NHLI) have been awarded £5 million from the British Heart Foundation as part of the charity’s highly competitive Research Excellence Awards funding scheme.

The funding is aimed at cultivating world-class research environments that encourage collaboration, inclusion and innovation, and to drive lifesaving breakthroughs.

Teams at Imperial College London, King’s College London and UCL will receive between £3 million and £5 million over the next five years, as part of £35 million boost to UK cardiovascular disease.

Cutting-edge research

At Imperial, the award will support the NHLI’s cutting-edge research into heart and blood vessel diseases and the potential of wearable sensors such as smartwatches to contribute to the creation of ’digital twins ’ - sophisticated models reflecting an individual’s health.

Professor Manuel Mayr , BHF Professor of Cardiovascular Proteomics at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, said: "I am delighted by Imperial’s success in securing this £5 million award. This achievement underscores the exceptional dedication and alignment of our team with our mission to deliver on our ambitious plans. Our success is a testament to the dedicated leadership of Professor Martin Wilkins, who led the team to deliver outstanding research with our previous Research Excellence Award funding.

"This funding will unite scientists and clinicians and foster new collaborations with bioengineering and chemistry, and pioneer innovative solutions in our quest to train the next generation of our cardiovascular workforce and promote cardiovascular health by translating groundbreaking research into tangible benefits for patients."

Professor Costanza Emanueli , BHF Chair in Cardiovascular Science at the NHLI, said: "I have been delighted to contribute to the current BHF centre working with Professor Martin Wilkins and the other colleagues and fellows. I am very grateful to the BHF for their continuous support to cardiovascular research and our institution.

"I am confident we will move the new BHF centre from strength to strength, further increasing our international networking as well as the work with the local community and schools. I am particularly motivated to support the career development of students and research staff in line with the EEDI principles to increase the diversity of the BHF workforces."

London’s heart research excellence

At King’s College London the BHF funding will support research to improve understanding of the management and treatment of heart failure. While at UCL, funding will support multiple themes, including treatments for rare and inherited cardiovascular disease, early phase clinical trials and a simulation lab and robotics programme.

Professor Bryan Williams, Chief Scientific and Medical Officer at the British Heart Foundation, said: "We’re delighted to continue to support research at these three outstanding institutions to address the biggest challenges in cardiovascular disease. This funding recognises the incredible work happening in London and will help to cement its status as a leading destination for cardiovascular disease research.

"With generous donations from our supporters, this funding will power cutting-edge science and unlock lifesaving discoveries that can turn the tide on the devastation caused by heart and circulatory diseases."

The BHF’s Research Excellence Awards enable scientists to quickly launch ambitious projects that can act as a springboard for larger, transformative funding applications.

Imperial, King’s and UCL have together received nearly £38 million through the BHF’s funding scheme to date.