About the award 2014-2019

What is the BHF Centre of Research excellence?

Since 2008, the British Heart Foundation has been investing in centres of research excellence, which gather leading scientists together who conduct ground-breaking research projects with the aim of conquering heart disease. The main objectives from the centres of excellence are:

To jump-start innovative research projects and support inspirational ideasTo seek out and train the very best young doctors and scientists to become the next generation of heart researchersTo foster pioneering research partnerships between heart scientists and other specialists, such as engineers and mathematicians, to gain brand new insight and ideas to tackle heart disease.

In 2012, with further investment from the BHF, the scheme was renewed and a second call was put out for proposals. Of the 14 applications submitted to the BHF, 6 awards were given with Glasgow joining Oxford, Cambridge, Kings, Imperial and Edinburgh as the successful awardees.

The School of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Health (SCMH) was awarded a £3M research grant for 5 years and has now established the BHF Centre of Research Excellence in Vascular Science and Medicine. In itself the BHF Research Excellence Award represents an outstanding achievement, recognising the calibre of expertise in pioneering cardiovascular research here at SCMH.

The award was initiated in April 2014 and is finished at the end of March 2019. 

Scientific Strategy 2014-2019

The overall scientific strategy of the Research Excellence Award at SCMH focuses on vascular dysfunction as a root cause of cardiovascular (CV) disease (CVD).

The award is known as the ‘BHF Centre of Excellence in Vascular Science and Medicine’.

By combining cell-based systems, experimental models, patient cohorts, datasets and biobanks, with a focus on dissecting the intrinsic disease axes at the vascular level, research in the Centre of Excellence will lead to new mechanistic insights and approaches in predicting, diagnosing and treating CVD and target-organ damage. Elucidating mechanism-based therapeutic targets together with vascular phenotyping will provide a diagnostic/therapeutic platform for individualised risk stratification for personalised treatment, the future of medicine. Findings will be translated into measurable outcomes through our translational programme, first-in-man trials and renowned clinical trials expertise. 

Scientific frameworks

The strategy for the science undertaken in the Centre of Excellence includes 5 integrated frameworks as shown in the figure.

Image of scientific strategy

BHF CoE Expertise 2014-2019

BHF Professor Rhian Touyz, director of the School of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Health  is the Principal Investigator and Award Director of the Research Excellence Award. She works closely with 18 senior co-investigators from multi-disciplnary backgrounds in order to implement the programme.

BHF CoRE Senior Co-Investigators

Professor Rhian Touyz 

Director of SCMH and Principal Investigator and Award Director of the BHF Centre of Research Excellence 

Rhian Touyz

Professor Christian Delles 

Deputy Director of BHF Centre of Research Excellence, School of Cardiovascular & Metabolic Health

Christian Delles Profile picture

Professor Dame Anna Dominiczak

Regius Professor of Medicine,

VP and Head of College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences

Profile picture of Anna Dominiczak

Professor Colin Berry 

Professor of Cardiology and Imaging,

School of Cardiovascular & Metabolic Health

Colin Berry Profile picture

Professor Gerard Graham

Professor of Molecular and Structural Immunology,

School of Infection and Immunity


Gerry Graham Profile Picture

Professor John McMurray

Professor of Cardiology

Deputy Director School of Cardiovascular & Metabolic Health

John McMurray Profile picture

Professor Iain McInnes


School of Infection and Immunity

Iain McInnes Profile picture

Professor Graeme Milligan

Dean of Research

Gardiner Chair of Biochemistry, School of MolecularBiosciences

Graeme Milligan Profile picture

Professor Naveed Sattar 

Professor of Metabolic Medicine

School of Cardiovascular & Metabolic Health

Naveed profile picture

Professor Tom Guzik

Regius Chair of Physiology/Cardiovascular Pathobiology

School of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Health

TG Profile picture

Professor Pasquale Maffia 

Senior Lecturer Immunology

Honorary Senior Lecturer School of Cardiovascular & Metabolic Health

Pasquale Maffia Profile picture

Professor Matthew Walters

Professor of Clinical Pharmacology

Head of Undergraduate Medical School and Deputy Dean of Graduate Studies

Matthew Walters Profile picture

Professor Keith Muir

SINAPSE Chair of Clinical Imaging

School of Psychology and Neuroscience

Keith Muir Profile Picture

Professor Stuart Nicklin

Professor of Cardiovascular Molecular Therapy

School of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Health

Stuart Nicklin Profile picture

Dr Ninian Lang

Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer

School of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Health

Ninian Profile picture

Professor James Leiper


School of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Health

James Leiper Profile Picture

Professor Julie Brittenden

Professor of Vascular Surgery

School of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Health


Professor Mandy MacLean 

Professor of Pulmonary Pharmacology

School of Cardiovascular & Metabolic Health


Clinical Fellows 2014-2019

We have 7 excellent Clinical Research fellows undertaking a wide variety of  projects examining different aspects of Vascular Science and Medicine.

Meet our fellows below and learn about their research 


Dr Alan Cameron

 Image of Alan Cameron

Dr Lyn Ferguson 

Image of Lyn Ferguson

Dr Giacomo Rossitto 

Image of Giacomo  Dr Tom Ford  Image of Tom Ford

Dr Jennifer Lees


 Image of Jen Lees

Dr Daniele Kerr 

Image of Daniele Kerr


In July 2018 SCMH - BHF Centre of Research Excellence hosted a Vascular Biomedicine Summer School. The week was filled with outstanding lectures and hands-on practice courses covering clinical and non-clinical aspects of vascular research, from molecular biology to vascular medicine. We welcomed over 40 students, including PhD students and post-docs from Canada, France, Belgium, The Netherlands and the UK.

Read more about our summer school in the SCMH newsletter 


Previous Award Collaborations

There are 18 BHF CoRE Senior investigators from multi-disciplinary backgrounds which allows for exciting new collaborations. Below are some of the papers from our PIs from the previous BHF Award 2014-2019. 

Ninian Lang and Rhian Touyz

Dobbin SJH1, Cameron AC, Petrie MC, Jones RJ, Touyz RM, Lang NN.Toxicity of cancer therapy: what the cardiologist needs to know about angiogenesis inhibitors Heart. 2018 Sep 18. pii: heartjnl-2018-313726. doi: 10.1136/heartjnl-2018-313726. PMID: 30228246 DOI: 10.1136/heartjnl-2018-313726

Rhian M Touyz, Ninian N Lang, Joerg Herrmann, Anton H van den Meiracker, and A. H. Jan DanserRecent advances in hypertension and cardiovascular toxicities with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibition Hypertension. 2017 Aug; 70(2): 220–226. Published online 2017 Jun 19. doi:  [10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.117.08856] PMCID: PMC5509510 NIHMSID: NIHMS875749 PMID: 28630211

Anna Dominiczak and Christian Delles

Anna Dominizcak, Christian Delles and Sandosh PadmanabhanRole of Office Blood Pressure in Diagnosis and treatments of Hypertension:  Genomics and Precision Medicine of Clinicians and Scientists in Hypertension Hypertension. 2017 Apr;69(4):e10-e13. doi:10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.116.08252. Epub 2017 Feb 13. PMID: 28193712 DOI: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.116.08252

Ulf Neisius1,2, Erin Olson1, Sabrina H. Rossi1, Hagar A. Ibrahim1, Gemma Currie1, Anna F. Dominiczak1, Christian Delles1* Evaluation of the systemic micro-and microvasculature in stable angina: A case-control study.  PLoS One. 2017 May 25;12(5):e0178412. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0178412. eCollection 2017. PMID: 28542516 PMCID: PMC5444845 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0178412

Christian Delles and Rhian Touyz

Kerr DMI, Brooksbank KJM, Taylor RG, Pinel K, Rios FJ, Touyz RM, Delles C. Acute effects of electronic and tobacco cigarettes on vascular and respiratory function in healthy volunteers: a cross-over study. J Hypertens. 2018 Jul 30. doi: 10.1097/HJH.0000000000001890. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 30063637.

Christian Delles and Stuart Nicklin

Delles C, Carrick E, Graham D, Nicklin SA. Utilizing proteomics to understand and define hypertension: where are we and where do we go? Expert Rev Proteomics.  2018 Jul;15(7):581-592. doi: 10.1080/14789450.2018.1493927. Epub 2018 Jul 12. PubMed PMID: 29999442; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6092739.

Christian Delles and Tom Guzik

Small HY, Cornelius DC, Guzik TJ, Delles C. Natural killer cells in placentation and cancer: Implications for hypertension during pregnancy. Placenta. 2017 Aug;56:59-64. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2017.03.003. Epub 2017 Mar 7. Review. PubMed PMID: 28318556.

Small HY, Nosalski R, Morgan H, Beattie E, Guzik TJ, Graham D, Delles C. Role of Tumor Necrosis Factor-a and Natural Killer Cells in Uterine Artery Function and Pregnancy Outcome in the Stroke-Prone Spontaneously Hypertensive Rat. Hypertension. 2016 Nov;68(5):1298-1307. Epub 2016 Oct 10. PubMed PMID: 27733586;  PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5058643.

Christian Delles and Keith Muir

Moreton FC, Cullen B, Delles C, Santosh C, Gonzalez RL, Dani K, Muir KW. Vasoreactivity in CADASIL: Comparison to structural MRI and neuropsychology. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2018 Jun;38(6):1085-1095. doi: 10.1177/0271678X17710375.  Epub 2017 May 24. PubMed PMID: 28537106; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5998994.

Mandy MacLean and Rhian Touyz

Hood, K. Y., Mair, K. M., Harvey, A. P., Montezano, A. C., Touyz, R. M. and MacLean, M. R. (2017) Serotonin signaling through the 5-HT1B receptor and NADPH oxidase 1 in pulmonary arterial hypertension. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, 37(7), pp. 1361-1370. (doi:10.1161/ATVBAHA.116.308929) (PMID:28473438) (PMCID:PMC5478178)

Graeme Milligan and Stuart Nicklin

Divorty, N, Milligan, G., Graham, D. and Nicklin S.A. (2018) The orphan receptor GPR35 contributes to angiotensin II-induced hypertension and cardiac dysfunction in mice Am. J. Hypertension 31, 1049-1058.

Pasquale Maffia and Tom Guzik

Nosalski R, Maffia P, Guzik TJ. Monocytes M(MP)aking way for T cell vascular infiltration. Circulation Research 2018;123:638-640 (IF: 15.211).

Loperena R, Van Beusecum JP, Itani HA, Engel N, Laroumanie F, Xiao L, Elijovich F, Laffer CL, Gnecco JS, Noonan J, Maffia P, Jasiewicz-Honkisz B, Czesnikiewicz-Guzik M, Mikolajczyk T, Sliwa T, Dikalov S, Weyand C, Guzik TJ, Harrison DG. Hypertension and increased endothelial mechanical stretch promote monocyte differentiation and activation: Roles of STAT3, interleukin 6 and hydrogen peroxide. Cardiovasc Res. 2018;114(11):1547-1563. (IF: 6.290)

Pasquale Maffia and Iain McInnes

Scales HE, Ierna M, Smith KM, Ross K, Meiklejohn GR, Patterson-Kane JC, McInnes IB, Brewer JM, Garside P, Maffia P. Assessment of murine collagen-induced arthritis by longitudinal non-invasive duplexed molecular optical imaging. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2016; 55:564-72. (IF: 5.245)

Rhian Touyz and Tom Guzik

Guzik TJ, Touyz RM.: Oxidative Stress, Inflammation, and Vascular Aging in Hypertension. Hypertension. 2017, Oct;70(4):660-667.

Skiba DS, Nosalski R, Mikolajczyk TP, Siedlinski M, Rios FJ, Montezano AC,  Jawien J, Olszanecki R, Korbut R, Czesnikiewicz-Guzik M, Touyz RM, Guzik TJ: Antiatherosclerotic effect of Ang- (1-7) non-peptide mimetic (AVE 0991) is mediated by inhibition of perivascular and plaque inflammation in early atherosclerosis Br J Pharmacol2016, Dec 9. doi: 10.1111/bph.13685.

Guzik TJ., Skiba D, Touyz R., Harrison DG: The role of infiltrating immune cells in dysfunctional adipose tissue. Cardiovasc Res, 2017,119(1): 1009–1023 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28838042

Naveed Sattar and Pasquale

Welsh P, Grassia G, Botha S, Sattar N, Maffia P. Targeting inflammation to reduce cardiovascular disease risk: a realistic clinical prospect?
British Journal of Pharmacology 2017;174(22):3898-3913. (IF: 6.810)

Colin Berry and Naveed Sattar

Corcoran D, Young R, Cialdella P, McCartney P, Bajrangee A, Hennigan B, Collison D, Carrick D, Shaukat A, Good R, Watkins S, McEntegart M, Watt J, Welsh P, Sattar N, McConnachie A, Oldroyd KG, Berry C. (2018) The effects of remote ischaemic preconditioning on coronary artery function in patients with stable coronary artery disease. International Journal of Cardiology, 252, pp. 24-30. (doi:10.1016/j.ijcard.2017.10.082) (PMID:29249435) (PMCID:PMC5761717)

Carberry, J., Carrick. D., Haig, C., Ahmed, N., Mordi, I., McEntegart, M., Petrie, M.C., Eteiba, H., Hood, S., Watkins, S., Lindsay, M., Davie, A., Mahrous, A., Ford, I., Sattar, N., Welsh, P., Radjenovic, A., Oldroyd, K.G., Berry, C. (2017). Persistence of Infarct Zone T2 Hyperintensity at 6 Months After Acute ST-Segment-Elevation Myocardial Infarction: Incidence, Pathophysiology, and Prognostic Implications. Circ Cardiovasc Imaging. Dec;10(12). pii: e006586. doi: 10.1161/CIRCIMAGING.117.006586.PMID:29242240.

Naveed Sattar, Rhian Touyz and Colin Berry

Thomas J. Ford, MBChB (Hons), FRACP,a,b,c David Corcoran, BMedSci (Hons), MRCP,b Keith G. Oldroyd, MD(Hons), FRCP,a,b Margaret McEntegart, PhD, FRCP,a,b Paul Rocchiccioli, PhD, FRCP,a,b Stuart Watkins, MD, FRCP,a Katriona Brooksbank, PhD,b Sandosh Padmanabhan, PhD, FRCP,b Naveed Sattar, FMedSci,b Andrew Briggs, PhD,d Alex McConnachie, PhD,e Rhian Touyz, MBBCh, MSc(Med), PhD, FRCP, FRSE,b and Colin Berry, PhD, FRCPa,b,⁎ Rationale and design of the British Heart Foundation (BHF) Coronary Microvascular Angina (CorMicA) stratified medicine clinical trial

Am Heart J. 2018 Jul; 201: 86–94. PMCID: PMC6018570

PMID: 29803987 doi:  [10.1016/j.ahj.2018.03.010]


edited version -smaller (colour)


We focus our research within 4 major axes: Immune dysregulation in vascular disease; Signalling & redox biology of small vessel disease; Microvessels, heart disease & pulmonary hypertension and Small vessel disease of the brain

Read more about our research from the 2014 award