Eminent Leicester researcher Professor Sir Nilesh Samani announced as our next Medical Director

21 March 2016        

Category: About BHF

Professor Sir Nilesh Samani

We are pleased to announce that Professor Sir Nilesh Samani will be our next Medical Director. He will succeed Professor Peter Weissberg who retires in October 2016 after twelve years leading our research funding.

Professor Samani is currently BHF Professor of Cardiology at the University of Leicester, Head of the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences at the University, Director of the NIHR Biomedical Research Unit and a consultant cardiologist at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester. In 2015 Professor Samani was knighted for services to medicine and medical research.

Genetic research breakthroughs

Among his many research achievements, Professor Samani has co-led the discovery of over 50 genes associated with coronary heart disease, in part through the BHF Family Heart Study, of which he was co-principal investigator. These important findings are providing new insights into the causes of heart disease and identifying potential future treatments to help prevent or slow the development of the condition.

Find out about a recent breakthrough from Professor Samani's research.Professor Samani said: "It is an enormous privilege to serve the Foundation as Medical Director. From my own experience, I know the central role the BHF plays in supporting cardiovascular research in the UK. Advances made through research funded by donations to the BHF have saved countless lives both in the UK and world-wide and reduced the devastating burden of premature heart disease on families and individuals."

Delivering our research strategy

In October 2015 we announced our new research strategy and committed to spending over half a billion pounds on research over five years. Our Medical Director oversees the charity’s research funding – we currently fund over half of all non-commercial cardiovascular research in UK universities and hospitals. That amounts to over 1,000 different research grants at any one time.

Professor Samani said: "Although there has been great progress, cardiovascular diseases still remain the number one killer and a growing problem in many parts of the world. The BHF has recently announced an ambitious strategy for funding research for the next five years so it’s tremendously exciting to take on this role at this stage.

Explore our strategy for fighting cardiovascular disease through research."By working with the research community in the UK and overseas, the NHS and other funders, including the Government, and patients and the public, we will continue to make important breakthroughs that save and benefit the lives of people with heart and circulatory disease."

A research leader

Our Chief Executive, Simon Gillespie, said: "Professor Samani is an outstanding, world-renowned researcher who has led the development of cardiovascular research at Leicester for many years.

"His research has greatly advanced our understanding of how our DNA affects our heart disease risk, which is now guiding researchers looking for more effective future treatments. Professor Samani has combined his research with clinical work that is bringing the benefits of research to his patients now.

"Everyone at the BHF looks forward to working with Professor Samani on ensuring the UK remains a world-leader in cardiovascular research and continues to fund science that is both exceptional, and most importantly, benefits the 7 million people with cardiovascular disease in the UK and the tens of millions more around the world."

Funding the fight for every heartbeat

We have only been able to fund decades of research by leading scientists like Professor Samani because of your support and donations. Help us to keep funding research to find new tests and treatments that will stop the preventable tragedies caused by heart disease.