Cardiovascular: Genomics & Stratified Medicine

At WHRI we have used the platform of the Wellcome Case Control Consortium with two Wellcome Trust Strategic Awards (£12m) to establish and lead international consortia.

Blood Pressure Genetics

Caulfield and Munroe are leaders of the Global BP Gen and the International Consortium for Blood Pressure Genome-wide Studies (350 scientists from 234 centres worldwide) 35 genes for blood pressure (Nature 2011 and Nature Genetics 2009 and 2011). They have also discovered 28 genes influencing urate and gout and co-lead the Global Urate Genetics Consortium (Nature Genetics).

Coronary Heart Disease genes

Deloukas recently recruited from the Sanger Institute withYe has discovered 46 genes and are leading functional studies in Coronary Disease (Nature Genetics, Circulation Research).


Tinker with Munroe and Harmer are leading characterisation of the functional role of various gene loci and ion channels that cause disordered heart rhythms and represent a significant cause of sudden death and hospitalisation (Journal of Biol Chemistry).

Pharmacogenetics of statin and BP response

Caulfield, Munroe and Barnes have identified loci for statin response in trials and cohorts and lead the Global Investigation of Statin Therapy.

Some significant milestones in this area of research include:

  • Our WTCCC paper in Nature in 2007 was voted the top scientific advance worldwide by editors of Nature and Science. 
  • Our discovery of blood pressure genes in 2009 was voted a top 10 advance in CV research by the American Heart Association in 2009.
  • Our Nature paper reporting 16 genes influencing blood pressure voted a top 5 advance in cardiovascular research by the American Heart Association in 2011.

WHRI also lead the MRC International Mouse Cardiovascular Traits Consortium which is generating gene-targeted models for functional characterisation of our gene discoveries. Our goal is to combine this information with additional molecular validation of novel drug targets or repurposing of existing molecules and stratify response for cardiovascular disease. 

Key partnerships

At the WHRI we have a number of key partnerships and links that facilitate our genomics research including partnerships with UCL, Edinburgh and Bristol Consortium funded by a shared BHF Programme. In addition, we have successful international collaborations with the Sanger and Broad Institute, Johns Hopkins, NHLBI Framingham Study, Universities of Washington Seattle and Alberta, the Centre of Cell and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad, Ehime University in Japan, and the Universities of Lausanne, Geneva, Paris Descartes and Arrhaus. 

Cardiovascular themes


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