Our top Professors

We support the best researchers in the UK, at all levels. Leading figures in heart research receive our most coveted award, becoming BHF Professors.

They represent the best of the best.

In the news

April 2017: Our researchers help us understand how air pollution causes heart disease

Professor David Newby

BHF Professor David Newby and his team at the University of Edinburgh have found that tiny nanoparticles, like those found in air pollution, can travel into the blood and accumulate in diseased blood vessels. The study suggests that air pollution nanoparticles are able to get into the bloodstream to cause heart disease.

Find out how the researchers used gold particles to learn about air pollution

November 2016: Professor Michael Schneider elected a Fellow of AAAS

BHF Professor Michael Schneider has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Director of Imperial College London's BHF Centre of Research Excellence, Professor Schneider has been recognised; ‘For distinguished contributions to the field of molecular cardiology, particularly for advances in basic heart failure research, cardiac stem cell biology and regenerative medicine’.

 Find out more about Professor Schneider's work and AAAS fellowship

October 2016: Research reveals when the heart first starts to beat

Research at the University of Oxford, led by BHF Professor Paul Riley, has uncovered that the heart starts beating earlier than previously thought. Published in the scientific journal eLife, the team studied the developing mouse heart and found that the muscle started to contract in an early stage of development, as soon as it formed the cardiac crescent. Professor Riley and his team hope that these findings will bring them closer to being able to repair damaged heart muscle.

Read on to discover more about exactly when our hearts start to beat

September 2016: A Milestone in cardiac screening

Blood clotsThe largest NHS-based centre to identify genetic causes of heart disease has welcomed its 10,000th family since it was launched in 2003. One of the centre's founders, BHF Professor Hugh Watkins, was among the first to find many of the faulty genes underlying various inherited heart conditions.


August 2016: Highlights from the ESC congress 2016

The annual European Society of Cardiology (ESC) conference took place in Rome between the 27th and 31st of August. Researchers, clinicians and policy makers came together to discover the latest breakthroughs at the world’s largest meeting of professionals working in cardiovascular medicine. During the conference BHF Clinical Research Fellow, Dr Rohan S Wijesurendra, was awarded the ESC Young Investigator Award for Clinical Science for his work on atrial fibrillation.

Find out more about the conference

 July 2016: Obesity linked with premature death

Professor John DaneshAn international research collaboration, which we helped to fund, has found that being overweight or obese is associated with increased risk of death before the age of 70.

The findings, published in The Lancet, show that the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer and respiratory disease are all increased. The researchers, led by a University of Cambridge team including BHF Professor John Danesh, also found that the overall excess risk of premature death among the overweight or obese is about three times greater in men than in women.

Find out more about how Professor Danesh used big data to conduct this research.

June 2016: Pioneering Glasgow Professor becomes Dame in Birthday Honours

Picture of BHF Trustee, and former BHF Professor, Dame Professor Anna Dominiczak.A world-leading blood pressure researcher from the University of Glasgow has received a DBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours. Professor Dame Anna Dominiczak was a BHF Professor for 13 years.

Professor Dominiczak was recognised for her contribution to cardiovascular and medical science. And this is the second time she has been honoured by the Queen after being given an OBE in 2005.

While a BHF Professor, Dame Anna drove the building of the BHF Glasgow Cardiovascular Research Centre and was its Director from its opening in 2000 until 2010. 

March 2016: BHF Professor announced as our next Medical Director

Nilesh SamaniThe University of Leicester researcher Professor Sir Nilesh Samani has been announced as our next Medical Director. BHF Professor Samani will take up the role in October 2016 when Professor Peter Weissberg retires after 12 years leading our research funding.

Professor Samani is world-renowned for his research into the genetics of cardiovascular disease and has built a hugely successful cardiovascular research department at the University of Leicester and Glenfield Hospital.

Find out more about Professor Samani's appointment as our next Medical Director.

February 2016: Improving heart attack diagnosis

Professor Dorian HaskardIt could be easier for doctors to identify risky fatty plaques that cause a heart attack or stroke following research, in mice, by an Imperial College London team working with BHF Professor Dorian Haskard (pictured).

The researchers are now working towards trials in people. The technique could eventually be used in hospitals to assess how likely an atherosclerotic plaque is to rupture.

Find out more about how this study could improve diagnosis of heart attacks.

January 2016: Fund launched to boost genetic testing of inherited heart condition

Professor Hugh WatkinsWe launched the Miles Frost Fund, which aims to raise £1.5 million to help make genetic testing available to all families affected by the deadly heart condition hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).

Miles Frost, the son of broadcaster Sir David Frost, died suddenly of HCM in July 2015. Young, fit and in the prime of his life, Miles was just 31.

Read about the genetic research, by BHF Professor Hugh Watkins (pictured), which led to the test.