Oxford University awarded £5m to advance cardiovascular disease research

Professor Keith Channon, head of the Radcliffe Department of Medicine <i>(Image: Oxford University)</i>
Professor Keith Channon, head of the Radcliffe Department of Medicine (Image: Oxford University)

The University of Oxford has been awarded £5 million to support its cardiovascular disease research over the next five years.

The funding has been provided by the British Heart Foundation and will bolster the university's research within this field.

Professor Keith Channon, head of the Radcliffe Department of Medicine, said: "The British Heart Foundation Research Excellence Award underscores the scale, scope and quality of our research in heart and circulatory diseases.

Oxford Mail: Professor Keith Channon, head of the Radcliffe Department of Medicine
Oxford Mail: Professor Keith Channon, head of the Radcliffe Department of Medicine

Professor Keith Channon, head of the Radcliffe Department of Medicine (Image: Oxford University)

"The new funding will support cross-disciplinary initiatives that will benefit patients by linking biological discovery science with data science and physical sciences, and will help to train the next generation of new research leaders."

British Heart Foundation Field Marshal Earl Alexander chair of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Oxford led the bid for the award.

Professor Angela Russell, professor of medicinal chemistry at the university, co-led the bid and added: "We are delighted to receive this new British Heart Foundation award which will allow us to build our connections with industry partners, and to pioneer a new entrepreneurship and innovation training programme to accelerate the development of future diagnostics and treatments for cardiovascular diseases."

The Oxford award forms part of a broader £35 million injection into UK cardiovascular disease research by the British Heart Foundation.

Professor Bryan Williams, chief scientific and medical officer at the British Heart Foundation, said: "We're delighted to continue to support research at the University of Oxford addressing the biggest challenges in cardiovascular disease.

"This funding recognises the incredible research happening at Oxford and will help to further its reputation as a global leader in the field.

"With generous donations from our supporters, this funding will attract the brightest talent, power cutting-edge science, and unlock lifesaving discoveries that can turn the tide on the devastation caused by heart and circulatory diseases."

Oxford Mail: The Radcliffe Camera
Oxford Mail: The Radcliffe Camera

The Radcliffe Camera (Image: Oxford Mail)

The funding will support researchers in developing new tools and techniques, including artificial intelligence, to analyse clinical and imaging data related to cardiovascular disease.

It will also aid the testing of new drug treatments from research discoveries, and methods of 'smart' drug delivery.

The Research Excellence Awards were launched in 2008 and Oxford has received more than £20 million through this scheme so far.

Past projects supported by the scheme include creating an artificial intelligence tool to detect heart attack risks years in advance. This tool is currently being piloted at five NHS hospitals.

The money also supported the discovery in mice that iron deficiency anaemia during early pregnancy increases the risk of a baby being born with a congenital heart defect.

The research also suggested that iron supplementation during the earliest stages of pregnancy could greatly reduce the risk.