Former BHF Medical Director awarded CBE

31 December 2016        

Category: About BHF

A portrait of Professor Peter Weissberg, the BHF Medical Director.

We’ve today welcomed the news that Professor Peter Weissberg, our former Medical Director, has been awarded a CBE for his services to medical research and cardiovascular health. 

Professor Weissberg, who retired in September 2016, led our research funding strategy from 2004. This strategy supports more than half of all cardiovascular research in the UK, and has enabled breakthroughs that are today saving lives. 

Prior to his tenure as Medical Director, Professor Weissberg established the Department of Cardiovascular Research at the University of Cambridge and spent ten years as the university’s first BHF Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine. 

A lifelong commitment

Our Chief Executive, Simon Gillespie, welcomed the news:

“We’re absolutely delighted that Professor Weissberg’s lifelong commitment to advancing heart disease research in the UK has been recognised by his award. 

“As a BHF researcher, Professor Weissberg’s pioneering work established the University of Cambridge as a world-leading centre for cardiovascular research. As our Medical Director, Professor Weissberg led the significant expansion of our research programme, enabling some of the UK’s most talented scientists to make breakthroughs that are today saving and improving the lives of seven million people living with heart and circulatory disease in the UK, and tens of millions more worldwide.  

“We congratulate Professor Weissberg on his honour and thank him for the unique contribution he has made to the fight against heart disease.” 

BHF’s ‘enormous impact’ 

Professor Peter Weissberg said:

“I am immensely proud of receiving this award which reflects the enormous impact the British Heart Foundation has had on cardiovascular research in the UK and beyond. It would not have come about without the collective effort of all who work at the BHF and, particularly, those people who donate their time and money so generously to allow the BHF to do its work. I feel honoured to have had the opportunity to be its Medical Director.”

Supporting world-leading scientists 

Professor Weissberg’s research career, predominantly funded by the BHF, focused on understanding the processes that cause atherosclerosis – the formation of fatty plaques in the arteries that can result in a heart attack or stroke. This work set the stage for the development of new imaging techniques that are today helping cardiologists identify the plaques most likely to rupture and cause a heart attack. 

As Medical Director, Professor Weissberg oversaw the expansion of BHF’s research funding portfolio from £40 million a year to more than £100 million a year. This included the establishment of six BHF Centres of Research Excellence to foster collaboration amongst world-leading cardiovascular scientists at leading UK universities. 

Professor Weissberg also led the creation of three BHF Centres of Regenerative Medicine committed to finding a cure for heart failure, funded through our Mending Broken Hearts appeal. 

More research still needed

Despite the advances made under Professor Weissberg’s leadership, heart and circulatory disease still accounts for around a quarter of all deaths in the UK and is the biggest killer worldwide. With your support, we can fund research that will save and improve more lives.