Accelerated progress towards ambitious research targets at the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Unit (CEU) will be possible over the next five years, thanks to ongoing support awarded to the CEU from the British Heart Foundation (BHF). The CEU is an internationally-renowned centre of excellence for the study of the causes and prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Over 60 staff and students are at the CEU, including epidemiologists, clinicians, statisticians, human geneticists, biologists, bioinformaticians, data scientists, and study coordinators. The CEU carries out large-scale “team science” studies of CVD, which integrate molecular and population methods, and facilitate both discovery and applied research.
The CEU’s overarching goal is to help address unmet strategic needs in this field, in parallel with efforts to control major modifiable risk factors (such as blood pressure) for CVD more effectively. The BHF award will support essential infrastructure needed at the CEU to enable progress across three inter-linked research programmes.
The goal of the first research programme is to discover more about factors that may cause CVD and advance our understanding of how it develops, focusing on genetic and genomic factors. Second, the CEU aims to prioritise potential therapeutic targets that could help in the development of new drugs to treat CVDs, through automated analysis of data and targeted experiments. The goal of the third research programme is to improve CVD prevention by developing and evaluating interventions, tools and strategies that may reduce CVD in the field.
“Our research addresses pharmacological and nonpharmacological approaches to combat CVD because both are needed to optimise prevention” – Professor John Danesh
Some of the most exciting areas of activity for the CEU over the next period will include the investigation of under-studied CVDs in collaboration with Papworth Hospital; sequencing and functional genomics in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute; evaluation of high-dimensional data to improve CVD screening in collaboration with the Alan Turing Institute for Data Science; and pragmatic trials and global health studies in collaboration with leading centres in South Asia.
Professor Danesh explained that the March 2017 BHF Personal Chair award is critical to the realisation of these extraordinary opportunities:
“The infrastructural scientists who run the CEU’s pipelines of cohort/trial recruitment, data management, and statistical analysis are fundamental to the Unit’s large-scale, long-term population health research.”
Find out more