The mission of the BHF Cardiovascular Epidemiology Unit (CEU; Director: Professor John Danesh), an internationally-renowned centre of excellence, is to make pivotal contributions towards advancement of the understanding and prevention of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). We are guided by strong values, including commitments to scientific excellence, serving the public good, and creating a positive, nurturing and collaborative environment for research and capacity development. We create a thriving intellectual environment where the most valuable asset is the people who conceive, drive, and deliver research through their vision, imagination and intellectual energy. We address strategic areas of unmet need, adopting large-scale “team science” approaches that integrate molecular and population methods from discovery through to applied research.
The CEU aims to:
- To create large-scale, innovative infrastructures and resources for the study of CVDs.
- To advance knowledge of the causes of CVDs.
- To enable rational development of new medicines for the prevention of CVDs.
- To develop and evaluate pragmatic interventions and translational tools.
- To innovate and build capacity in global health.
The CEU is a key infrastructural asset, building large-scale, powerful and inclusive collaborations that have far-reaching impact, nationally and internationally, and across multiple sectors. For example, over the last 5 years the CEU’s work has directly informed new CVD prevention guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Society Cardiology (ESC), as well as the alcohol consumption guidelines of several countries; influenced the design of phase 3 trials of cardiovascular medicines; and informed regulators in giving approval to new CVD medicines. The CEU’s agility and value have been highlighted in our pivot to help address Covid-19, including health informatics co-leadership of the world’s largest viral genome tracking project and co-leadership of a BHF national health data resource to define the interplay between CVDs and Covid-19.
The CEU also has a key role in creating vital research capabilities in CVD for the future: with over 80 current staff and graduate students, including epidemiologists, clinicians, data scientists, and biologists, the CEU provides an exceptional environment not just for research, but also for training and career development. Over the last 5 years, we have trained over 50 Masters and PhD students and helped mentor many scientists into independence, including many who have gone on to assume leadership positions in academia and industry.