Heart of the matter: Professor Godfrey Smith.

Heart of the matter: Professor Godfrey Smith.

Issued: Wed, 26 Jun 2013 15:18:00 BST

Godfrey SmithThere is currently very little known about the cause of sudden cardiac death but Professor of Cardiovascular Cardiology Godfrey Smith is investigating the electrical origins of the condition in the hope that his research might translate into effective therapies.

‘My interest is in how the heart manages to beat automatically and continually, and how it coordinates its beats through the electrical signal process,’ says Professor Smith, who has been developing techniques to study the entire heart of an experimental animal.

He explains: ‘We use optical techniques including high-power lasers and special highspeed cameras to “see” the electrical activity in different areas of the heart. Part of what attracts people to the lab is that we have to build our own equipment to do our research. Our reputation for making measurements others haven’t been able to make is a real motivator.’

Each year, there are five PhD studentships focusing on cardiovascular research. Four of these are courtesy of a unique four-year British Heart Foundation (BHF) scholarship scheme for EU students; the University funds a fifth studentship. Glasgow is one of the few centres to offer the BHF scheme, which involves a one-year MRes followed by a research project of your choosing.

‘Glasgow has an international reputation in cardiovascular work and an environment of excellent translational and clinical contact,’ says Professor Smith. ‘We make sure that students’ experience here is good, and then we mentor them through to their next position.’

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