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11 February 2008
Issued on behalf of the Faculties of Biological Sciences and Medicine & Health

New Centre to be at the heart of UK’s cardiovascular research

Expertise from across the University of Leeds is to be channelled into a new research centre that aims to progress the understanding, treatment and prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

The Multidisciplinary Cardiovascular Research Centre (MCRC) will help researchers from the Faculties of Medicine and Health and Biological Sciences to pool their knowledge and research in the development of new approaches to the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, and implement these into clinical practice.

The new Centre will draw together expertise on the behaviour of molecules, genes and proteins to the health of the whole cardiovascular system and its relationships with associated conditions such as diabetes and obesity. It will develop strong links with the NHS Trusts and encourage researchers from other faculties with expertise that can be applied to cardiovascular research, such as mechanical and tissue engineering, nanotechnology and mathematical modelling, to join forces with them.

The appointed Head of Centre is David Beech, Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology from the Faculty of Biological Sciences. He will work closely with the Deputy Head of Centre Professor Mark Kearney, a cardiologist and scientist who was recently recruited to the Faculty of Medicine and Health from Kings College London.

“Drawing together all the related expertise from across the University offers a wonderful opportunity and the drive to form the Centre has been strongly supported by the researchers and clinicians themselves,” says Prof Beech. “There’s a great deal of internationally renowned research here but it has not previously been co-ordinated in such a formally constituted centre.

“This joined-up approach will provide a real focus for all our work. It will allow us to collaborate and communicate much more easily, which will generate more research findings and ultimately lead to real benefits for patients. It will also inform and enhance undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, and thus help educate the next generation of cardiovascular researchers and clinicians,” he says.

Also instrumental in the creation of the Centre is Professor Chris Wild, Director of Leeds Institute of Genetics, Health and Therapeutics (LIGHT). He says: “Cardiovascular research at Leeds has always been highly regarded: the LIGHT alone received new awards worth more than £2 million from the British Heart Foundation in 2007 including a prestigious British Heart Foundation sponsored Intermediate Fellow. The added benefit of a co-ordinated cross-Faculty approach is that it will enable us to bid for larger research grants to tackle major questions crucial to understanding cardiovascular health and disease.”

Further information from

Jo Kelly, campuspr Ltd. Tel 0113 258 9880, Mob 07980 267756, Email jokelly@campuspr.co.uk

Guy Dixon, Press Office, University of Leeds. Tel 0113 3438229, Email g.dixon@leeds.ac.uk

Notes to editors

The Faculty of Biological Sciences at the University of Leeds is one of the largest in the UK, with over150 academic staff and over 400 postdoctoral fellows and postgraduate students. The Faculty has been awarded research grants totalling some £60M and funders include charities, research councils, the European Union and industry. Each of the major units in the Faculty has the highest Grade 5 rated research according to the last government (HEFCE) Research Assessment Exercise, denoting research of international standing. The Faculty is also consistently within the top three for funding from the government’s research councils, the BBSRC and NERC. www.fbs.leeds.ac.uk

The Faculty of Medicine and Health is comprised of the School of Medicine; the School of Healthcare; Leeds Dental Institute; Leeds Institute for Health Sciences; the Institute of Psychological Sciences; Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine LIMM) and Leeds Institute of Genetics, Health and Therapeutics (LIGHT).
www.leeds.ac.uk/medhealth

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