Research Themes

Cardiovascular

Queen Mary University of London and University College London (UCL) have established a joint cardiovascular institute to rise to the global challenge of cardiovascular disease.The endeavour between the two institutions provides system-wide support for UCLPartners' cardiovascular Academic Medical Centre, the hub of which is the new Barts Heart Centre. By combining joint strengths in discovery science, experimental medicine and population health sciences and our involvement with the Farr Institute, and Genomics England, we are driving forward diagnostic and therapeutic innovation and prevention strategies to address the extensive burden of cardiovascular disease in North Central and East London.

The excellence of our cardiovascular (CV) research was recognised by the award of a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit (BRU) in 2008 and again in 2012 (£12m). Barts in partnership with QMUL, was awarded NIHR Biomedical Research Centre status effective from April 2017 to March 2022. 

This integrates cardiovasular genetics, stem cell biology, inflammation science, pharmacology, electrophysiology, advanced CV Imaging with experimental medicine and large-scale trials to create a flow of concepts from the bench into the clinic. This is boosted by the new £25m William Harvey Heart Centre and appointment of new Chairs and Teams. A £400m rebuild of St Bartholomew’s Hospital was completed in 2014 and is home to the merged specialist cardiovascular care services of the London Chest Hospital (Barts NHS Trust), The Heart Hospital (University College London Hospitals Trust) and The Royal Free Hospital (Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust). This provides an exciting forum for WHRI academics and our partners above to further enhance and develop cardiovascular translational research.

Major impact

Our research and leadership changed NICE Guidance for blood pressure and cholesterol in 2006 and 2011. WHRI created and lead the Joint UK Society’s Working Group on Renal Denervation, produced the first consensus statement and are forming the UK registry for this technology.

Current grant awards

  • We host three Wellcome and four British Heart Foundation (BHF) Programme Grants (£4 million)
  • We have won two major EU Awards (€11m), a Medical Research Council (MRC) e-Health Centre (£4.5m joint with UCL, the School of Hygiene and Health Protection Agency) and a Grand Challenge Exploration Phase II award from the Gates Foundation
  • NIHR Barts Biomedical Research Centre

Training 

  • We host multiple BHF Intermediate Basic Science and NIHR Awards
  • Awarded BHF PhD Studentship Scheme (4 year PhD with MRes for 4 years) in 2012
  • Awarded MRC MRes/PhDs cardiovascular and inflammation in-vivo research awarded in 2012
  • NIHR Academic Fellows in Clinical Pharmacology and Clinical Lectureships in Cardiology, Clinical Pharmacology and Renal Medicine.

Key partners and clinical links

We have strong links to the Barts Health NHS Trust Cardiovascular Clinical Academic Group and University College (UCL) Institute of CV Sciences, UCL Heart Hospital and UCL Partners Integrated Cardiovascular System connecting bench to the clinic. 

                 

Find out more about research at the WHRI

 

Endocrinology

A unique feature of Endocrinology is our focus on life-course consequences of endocrine and metabolic diseases from conception to old age, and their biological bases. Clinical and research collaboration between paediatric and adult endocrinologists is delivering ground-breaking discoveries and an international patient referral base, providing access to unique patients and families. Our Discovery Science and Experimental Medicine successes include achieving major advances in understanding the nature and causes of Familial Pituitary Adenoma and identifying six novel genes causing Familial Glucocorticoid Deficiency, thereby providing new insights into the cellular processes regulating steroidogenesis. Adrenal and pituitary development, mitochondrial and stem cell physiology and intracellular trafficking are complementary ongoing research interests at Endocrinology, as is the study of novel genes underlying the timing of puberty, the risk of dyslipidemia and rare bone diseases. The translational aspects of our work are both inspired and supported by our clinical and basic research collaboration, which continues to serve us well in attracting high-quality clinical and non-clinical PhD students and more senior investigators to this truly international centre of excellence. 

The translational aspects of our work are both inspired and supported by our clinical and basic research collaboration, which continues to serve us well in attracting high-quality clinical and non-clinical PhD students and more senior investigators to this truly international centre of excellence.  

Major impact

  • Understanding the pathophysiology and genealogy of Familial Pituitary Adenomas (NEJM, JCEM, Human Mutation), as well as increasing public awareness of these adenomas, for example through establishment of International Patient Support Services 
  • Adrenal failure caused by oxidative stress and loss of genome stability (Nat Genet, JCEM, JCI) 
  • Adrenocortical development promoted by Sonic hedgehog (Shh)-independent and Shh-dependent signalling (PNAS)
  • Screening for growth disorders (JAMA, JCEM)
  • Postnatal pituitary-ovarian activation important for normal female reproductive development (JCEM)
  • Lead in formulating the NICE guidelines for managing paediatric and adult growth disorders due to our long-standing contribution in the management of these conditions
  • Mitochondrial dynamics regulated by chaperone domain protein sacsin (PNAS)
  • Cholesterol synthesis impacts on intracellular trafficking (JBC) 
  • Cellular microenvironment modulates cilia-mediated signalling (JCS)
  • Accessory proteins and molecular chaperones regulate GPCR signalling (PNAS, Mol Endo)
  • Knowledge transfer to clinicians through distance learning.

Major grants

Significant MRC, Wellcome, BHF, BTLC, EU, NIHR, BBSRC funding, as well as funds from industrial collaborators, ensure our clinical and research collaboration.

Training

  • Enviable track-record of securing funding for clinical training and clinical scientist fellowships from MRC and Wellcome Trust, as well as the Bart’s and London Charity 
  • Masters degree in Endocrinology and Diabetes.

Key partnerships and links 

Our partnership with Clinical Endocrinology at Barts Health NHS Trust at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital enables detailed studies of pathogenesis and therapeutic options for rare and common endocrine and metabolic diseases. 

News and events

  

 

 

Core facilities

Core facilities within the Centre for Endocrinology include an LSM 880 with Airyscan.

Find out more about research at the WHRI

 

Inflammation

Inflammatory processes represent a fundamental biological function impacting both positively (physiology) and negatively (pathology) on the performance of our body. Our research is devoted to the study of inflammatory mechanisms controlling immunity and inflammation in the joint, vasculature and diseased organ including heart and kidney. This programme aims to discover the mechanisms behind leukocyte trafficking, develop new gene therapies, anti-inflammatory peptides, small molecules, antagonists that block novel targets, agonists that activate patient-specific pro-resolving pathways. 

Centre for Inflammation and Therapeutic InnovationRecently we have expanded our inflammation research outreach with the formation of a cross-institute multi-faculty Centre for inflammation and Therapeutic Innovation (CiTI) establishing a strategic partnership with Arthritis Research UK and UCB Pharma. During the first phase of financing of CiTI, we have established two Arthritis Research UK Chairs at WHRI. CiTI harness WHRI inflammation research themes, and bring together other sections of the Faculty, with a focus on therapeutic innovation in the context of i) Genomics and personalised medicine; ii) vascular inflammation and cell trafficking; iii) target identification and therapeutic exploitation; iv) reparative and regenerative therapeutics. As such our inflammation programme dovetails very well with a large proportion of our efforts in cardiovascular research.

Our translational research is published in Science and Nature journals, Immunity, PNAS, JCI and more, and the excellence of our research is recognised by the award of the Arthritis Research UK Early Arthritis Treatment Centre and an NIHR Translational Research Partnership. 

Major impact 

  • We lead translational research on rheumatoid arthritis patient stratification, enabling adoption of the cancer model (deep tissue pathotype definition to guide personalised therapy).
  • We pioneered the area of Resolution of Inflammation identifying distinct mediators and receptor targets
  • We made fundamental discoveries on the process of leukocyte trafficking, with translational relevance to organ transplantation
  • For REF2014, we have returned outputs published in Nature, Nature Immunology (x3), Nature Cell Biology, J Exp Med (x2), J Clin Invest, J Cell Biol (x2), PNAS (x2), Blood (x3), Circulation Research and several articles in J Immunol, Arthritis & Rheumatism and Annals of Rheumatic Diseases
  • Several Grant Awards finance our research on the inflammation stream, including – at present - WT/Royal Society Sir Henry Dale Fellowship, European Research Council - Start Grant, Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award, 1 BHF programme Grant, MRC/Arthritis Research UK MATURA Consortium for Stratified Medicine (£4.7m), NIHR Experimental Medicine Evaluation Programme for Stratified Medicine (£1.2million) and a variety of projects from MRC, Arthritis Research UK and other public or private funders. We contribute to the Arthritis Research UK Centre for OA Pathogenesis (lead, Oxford University).

Training

  • Multiple British Heart Foundation and Arthritis Research UK Junior and Intermediate Fellowships and just been awarded two Marie Curie Fellowships. For post-graduate training, we coordinate a Marie Curie ITN with 11 PhD students of which 4 at WHRI/QMUL). At the same time, we host several PhD studentships from Arthritis Research UK, British Heart Foundation, BBSRC and MRC Case studentships. 

Key partnerships and clinical links 

  • We are linked to the Barts Health NHS Trust Musculoskeletal Clinical Service connecting bench to the clinic
  • We are active members of the Academic Health Science Centre of UCL Partners, domain of the 3Is (Inflammation, Immunity, Infection)
  • We have a strong partnership with UCL Rheumatology and a joint research strategy effected also through CiTI
  • Current industrial partners are Genentech/Roche, GSK, MedImmune/AstraZenecaUCB Pharma and Abbvie and many Biotechs. 

Find out more about research at the WHRI

  • Endocrinology

    A unique feature of Endocrinology is our focus on life-course consequences of endocrine and metabolic diseases from conception to old-age, and their biological bases. Clinical and research collaboration between paediatric and adult endocrinologists is delivering ground-breaking discoveries and an international patient referral base, providing access to unique patients and families. Our Discovery Science and Experimental Medicine successes include achieving major advances in understanding the nature and causes of Familial Pituitary Adenoma and identifying six novel genes causing Familial Glucocorticoid Deficiency, thereby providing new insights into the cellular processes regulating steroidogenesis. Adrenal and pituitary development, mitochondrial and stem cell physiology and intracellular trafficking are complementary ongoing research interests at Endocrinology, as is the study of novel genes underlying the timing of puberty, the risk of dyslipidemia and rare bone diseases. The translational aspects of our work are both inspired and supported by our clinical and basic research collaboration, which continues to serve us well in attracting high-quality clinical and non-clinical PhD students and more senior investigators to this truly international centre of excellence. 

    Major Impacts

    • Understanding the pathophysiology and genealogy of Familial Pituitary Adenomas (NEJM, JCEM, Human Mutation), as well as increasing public awareness of these adenomas, for example through establishment of International Patient Support Services 
    • Adrenal failure caused by oxidative stress and loss of genome stability (Nat Genet, JCEM, JCI) 
    • Adrenocortical development promoted by Sonic hedgehog (Shh)-independent and Shh-dependent signalling (PNAS)
    • Screening for growth disorders (JAMA, JCEM)
    • Postnatal pituitary-ovarian activation important for normal female reproductive development (JCEM)
    • Lead in formulating the NICE guidelines for managing paediatric and adult growth disorders due to our long-standing contribution in the management of these conditions
    • Mitochondrial dynamics regulated by chaperone domain protein sacsin (PNAS)
    • Cholesterol synthesis impacts on intracellular trafficking (JBC) 
    • Cellular microenvironment modulates cilia-mediated signalling (JCS)
    • Accessory proteins and molecular chaperones regulate GPCR signalling (PNAS, Mol Endo)
    • Knowledge transfer to clinicians through distance learning

    Endocrinology major grants

    Significant MRC, Wellcome, BHF, BTLC, EU, NIHR, BBSRC funding, as well as funds from Industrial collaborators ensure our clinical and research collaboration.

    Endocrinology Training

    • Enviable track-record of securing funding for clinical training and clinical scientist fellowships from MRC and Wellcome Trust, as well as the Bart’s and London Charity. 
    • Masters degree in Endocrinology and Diabetes

    Key partnerships and Clinical links

    Our partnership with Clinical Endocrinology at Barts Health NHS Trust  at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital enables detailed studies of pathogenesis and therapeutic options for rare and common endocrine and metabolic diseases. 

    Endocrinology News   

     

     

     

    Click above for Endocrinology News                                                                                Click above for up and coming meetings                                                                                                                                                                              

  • Inflammation
    Microvessels support leukocyte migration in an inflamed tissue

    Our research is devoted to the study of novel mechanisms controlling immunity and inflammation in the joint, vasculature and diseased organ including heart and kidney. This Experimental Medicine programme aims to discover the mechanisms behind leukocyte trafficking, develop new gene-therapies, anti-inflammatory peptides, agonists and antagonists that target novel inflammatory pathways, with a unique focus on endogenous mediators of resolution. Our translational research is published in Science, Nature Immunology and the Journal of Experimental Medicine - and the excellence of our research is recognized by award of the Arthritis Research UK Early Arthritis Treatment Centre and an NIHR Translational Research Partnership. There is significant overlap with the aims of our cardiovascular research theme.

    Inflammation Major Impact

    • We lead translational research on rheumatoid arthritis patient stratification, with the aim of adopting the cancer model (from tissue pathotype to personalized therapy)
    • We pioneered the area of Resolution of Inflammation identifying distinct mediators and receptor targets
    • We made fundamental discoveries on the process of leukocyte trafficking, with translational relevance to organ transplantation
    • Collectively, for REF2014, we have published in Nature, Nature Immunology (x3), Nature Cell Biology, J Exp Med (x2), J Clin Invest, J Cell Biol (x2), PNAS (x2), Blood (x3), Circulation Research and several articles in J Immunol, Arthritis & Rheumatism and Annals of Rheumatic Diseases.

    Inflammation Research Current Grant Awards

    • 1 Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award
    • 3 Wellcome Programme Grants (£3 million), 1 BHF programme Grant
    • MRC/Arthritis Research UK MATURA Consortium for Stratified Medicine (£4.7m)
    • MRC Pathobiology of Early Arthritis Cohort (£681K)
    • NIHR Experimental Medicine Evaluation Programme for Stratified Medicine (£1.2million)
    • 3 EU Programmes.

    Inflammation Research Training

    • Oliver Bird PhD Studentship Scheme in Rheumatology (Nuffield Foundation)
    • Multiple British Heart Foundation and Arthritis Research UK Fellowships
    • Awarded MRC MRes/PhDs cardiovascular and inflammation in-vivo research awarded in 2012.

    Key Partnerships and Clinical links

    • We are linked to the Barts Health NHS Trust Musculoskeletal Clinical Service connecting bench to the clinic
    • We have a strong partnership with UCL Rheumatology and a joint Research Strategy
    • Current industrial partners are Genentech/Roche, MedImmune/AstraZeneca, UCB Pharma and MRC Technology
  • Cardiovascular

     

    Heart-shaped arrangement of cells viewed through a microscope

    Queen Mary University of London and UCL have agreed to establish a joint cardiovascular institute to rise to the global challenge of cardiovascular disease.

    The endeavour between the two institutions will provide system-wide support for UCLPartners' cardiovascular Academic Medical Centre, the hub of which will be the new Barts Heart Centre. By combining joint strengths in discovery science, experimental medicine and population health sciences and our involvement with the Francis Crick Institute, NICOR, the Farr Institute, and Genomics England, we will drive forward diagnostic and therapeutic innovation and prevention strategies to address the extensive burden of cardiovascular disease in North Central and East London.

    The excellence of our cardiovascular (CV) research has been recognized by the award of a National Institute for Health Research Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit in 2008 and again in 2012 (£12m). This integrates cardiovascular genetics, stem cell biology, inflammation science, pharmacology, electrophysiology, advanced CV Imaging with experimental medicine and large-scale trials to create a flow of concepts from the bench into the clinic. This is boosted by the new £25m William Harvey Heart Centre and appointment of new Chairs and Teams. Towards the end of 2014 a £400m rebuild of St Bartholomew’s Hospital is due to be completed that will house the merging of specialist cardiovascular care services of the London Chest Hospital (Barts NHS Trust), The Heart Hospital (University College London Hospitals Trust) and The Royal Free Hospital (Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust). This will provide an exciting forum for academics within the WHRI with our partners above to further enhance and develop our cardiovascular translational research.

    Major Impacts

    • Our research and leadership changed NICE Guidance for blood pressure and cholesterol in 2006 and 2011. WHRI created and lead the Joint UK Society’s Working Group on Renal Denervation and produced the first consensus statement and are forming the UK registry for this technology.

    Cardiovascular Current Grant Awards

    • We host three Wellcome and four BHF Programme Grants (£4 million).
    • We have won two major EU Awards (€11m), an MRC e-Health Centre (£4.5m Joint with UCL, the School of Hygiene and Health Protection Agency) and a Grand Challenge Exploration Phase II award from the Gates Foundation.
    • The NIHR Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit at Barts.

    Cardiovascular Research Training

    • We host multiple BHF Intermediate Basic Science and NIHR Awards.
    • Awarded BHF PhD Studentship Scheme (4 year PhD with MRes for 4 years) in 2012.
    • Awarded MRC MRes/PhDs cardiovascular and inflammation in-vivo research awarded in 2012.
    • NIHR Academic Fellows in Clinical Pharmacology and Clinical Lectureships in Cardiology, Clinical Pharmacology and Renal Medicine.

    Key Partners and Clinical links

    We are strongly linked to the Barts Health NHS Trust Cardiovascular Clinical Academic Group and University College (UCL) Institute of CV Sciences, UCL Heart Hospital and UCL Partners Integrated Cardiovascular System connecting bench to the clinic.