Latest BHF Professor announced

12 September 2016        

Sven Plein 205 137

Professor Sven Plein, who is based at the University of Leeds, has been named BHF Professor of Cardiovascular Imaging as a mark of recognition of his world-class research in the fight against heart disease. 

The £1 million grant will enable Professor Plein and his team to expand their groundbreaking research programme into how magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can improve our understanding of heart disease and diagnose it more accurately without the need for invasive tests.

Together with a new Programme Grant worth an additional £900,000, we have given combined funding of nearly £2 million, gives Professor Plein and his team more resources to galvanise their research to improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients with heart disease.

Heart disease and diabetes

He has recently been exploring why people with diabetes are more likely to develop heart failure, a debilitating condition affecting more than half a million people in the UK where the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently around the body. It can leave patients in a state of breathlessness and unable to leave the house.

We still don’t fully understand why people with diabetes are more prone to heart failure and which treatments can slow the progression of heart failure in diabetes. Professor Plein and his team will study the hearts of volunteers who have diabetes with detailed MRI scans and find out how some diabetes medications can improve the way the heart works.

Professor Sven Plein, BHF Professor of Cardiovascular Imaging at the University of Leeds, said:

We’re hugely grateful to all the fundraisers and volunteers who make our research possible

Professor Sven Plein

“This new funding gives me and my team the opportunity to make even better use of the resources and expertise here in Leeds, so that together we can make faster progress towards our goal of improving the lives of patients affected by diabetes and heart failure. In particular, it strengthens the link between our research teams working in diabetes and those working on heart disease.

“We’re hugely grateful to all the fundraisers and volunteers who make our research possible. It’s an honour to know so much effort has gone into every pound we receive – it makes us even more motivated to make the progress that will save and improve people’s lives.”

Professor Peter Weissberg, our Medical Director, said:

“Donations to the BHF have helped to support Professor Plein’s career for over 15 years. This new funding and BHF Professorship recognises that he is now a world leader in his field and he has an impressive track record of research that matters for heart patients.

“We look forward to seeing how Professor Plein’s research in Leeds continues to improve the lives of the seven million people living with cardiovascular disease in the UK and, in particular, the half a million people living day-to-day with heart failure.”

Professor Plein was recently instrumental in the setting up of a new National Centre for Translational Hyperpolarised Magnetic Resonance in collaboration with the University of York. The facility is designed to undertake research that could greatly improve the sensitivity of MRI scanners using a process called hyperpolarisation, which allows scientists to track chemical processes in the body using conventional MRI scanners.

Professor Plein’s work is currently supported by donations. He is carrying out the highest quality science, which could lead to new ways of diagnosing and treating heart disease. All of the research funded by us depends entirely on the generosity of our supporters.