BHF pays tribute to Professor Michael Oliver

12 June 2015        

The British Heart Foundation has today paid tribute to Professor Michael Oliver – one of the charity’s most influential early BHF Professors - who died on 7 June, aged 89. 

Professor Oliver was one of the most eminent cardiovascular researchers of his era. After beginning his medical career as a cardiologist in the 1950s, Professor Oliver was awarded the BHF Duke of Edinburgh Chair of Cardiology at the University of Edinburgh in 1978.

As a BHF Professor between 1978 and 1989, Professor Oliver led some of the early trials of cholesterol lowering drugs and his work was most notably concerned with the relationship between diet, cholesterol and coronary heart disease

As a cardiologist he also worked with Professor Desmond Julian to set up the UK’s first coronary care unit in Edinburgh in 1964, which helped to transform heart patient care nationwide. 

Our medical director, Professor Peter Weissberg, said: “Michael Oliver was at the heart of the cholesterol debate in its early days and was a highly influential opinion leader. In 2015 it is easy to forget just how little was known about the relationship between cholesterol levels and heart disease when Michael was a young cardiologist. The debate in those, largely evidence free days, was intense.

“But perhaps his most enduring legacy is the academic department of cardiovascular medicine in Edinburgh. Michael set this up from scratch and laid the foundations for what today is arguably the UK’s most prominent and influential clinical research centre in heart disease, spawning a succession of world leading clinical researchers including BHF Profs Fox and Newby. Michael was always stimulating company and highly supportive of young medical scientists.”