Hugh Watkins

Professor Hugh Watkins Hugh Watkins is the BHF Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the BHF Centre of Research Excellence John Radcliffe Hospital, University of Oxford.

BHF Professor Hugh Watkins is a clinical cardiologist and laboratory scientist whose work has given us the tools to find people with life-threatening inherited heart conditions, through genetic screening schemes.

Causes of cardiomyopathy

Professor Watkins’ team are revealing how abnormalities in the mechanical apparatus that enable each heart cell to contract cause an inherited heart condition, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. These studies help to increase our understanding of the basic regulation of how the heart pumps.

Find out how research can beat inherited heart conditions.

Genetics of coronary heart disease

Professor Watkins is leading one of the largest studies worldwide to identify genes that increase the risk of early coronary heart disease. Genes for risk factors such as high blood pressure are being analysed in the DNA collected from very many families.

Nitric oxide

Professor Watkins' team are studying how an important biological signal, nitric oxide, acts to increase the electrical current of the heart’s natural pacemaker. Importantly Nitric oxide may also increase the risk of irregular heart rhythms in heart failure.

Professor Watkins joins four other BHF Professors at the University of Oxford – Shoumo BhattacharyaRory CollinsPaul Riley and Barbara Casadei. All five are also part of our pioneering £8.9m BHF Centre of Research Excellence at the University of Oxford.

Heart Matters asks Professor Watkins how Centre of Research Excellence funding is boosting heart research at Oxford.