REA3 Showcase Event 10 Feb

The executive of the British Heart Foundation for Research Excellence is pleased to announce that we will be holding a half-day event on Thursday 10 February to showcase some of our ongoing research. Professors Cathie Sudlow and Professor Trian Chavakis will be our Keynote Speakers.

On 10 February 2022, we will be holding a half-day hybrid event via Microsoft TEAMS and in the Wellcome Auditorium based within the QMRI building. 

The showcase will commence at 1pm and is scheduled to finish at 4.20pm.  You can register using the following link:

An outline for the day can also be accessed from the following document:

10 February Outline (624.29 KB / PDF)


Speakers on 10 February:

Professor Cathie Sudlow Professor Cathie Sudlow is the inaugural Director of the British Heart Foundation Data Science Centre, which aims to improve the public’s cardiovascular health through the power of large-scale data and advanced analytics across the UK and beyond. She is also Chair of Neurology and Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh. Cathie is a clinical neurologist and epidemiologist. Her clinical work involves assessing and treating patients with suspected acute stroke in the hospital emergency department. Her research interests are firmly embedded in the world of big data, in particular large-scale, collaborative, open-science initiatives to understand the causes (genetic, environment and lifestyle), consequences of, and best treatments for common diseases of middle and older age. These have included initiatives to establish the role of antithrombotic drugs in preventing heart disease and stroke, to investigate differences between stroke subtypes, and to discover genes that influence stroke. From 2011, she led efforts follow the health of UK Biobank participants through linkage to national health datasets, and during 2020-2021 worked with NHS Digital to develop the first trusted research environment to hold and enable access for research to linked health data for the whole population of England. She was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2018 and awarded an OBE for services to medical research in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2020.
Professor Triantafyllos (Trian) Chavakis Trian Chavakis is a clinican-scientist. He is currently professor and director of the Institute for Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine of the University Clinic Dresden, Germany. He is also visiting professor at the CVS, QMRI, University of Edinburgh. His work focuses on innate immunity and metabolic inflammation. He is a twice ERC grantee.
Professor Anna Williams Professor Anna Williams both runs a research group interested in white matter brain pathology in the CRM and also is a neurologist. Her group work mainly on multiple sclerosis and cerebral small vessel disease, and are increasingly interested in the crosstalk between endothelial cells of the brain small blood vessels and oligodendrocytes. Professor Anna Williams is also one of our REA3 Executive members and joined in 2021.
Dr Miguel O. Bernabeu Miguel is Senior Lecturer at the Usher Institute and Deputy Director at The Bayes Centre, The University of Edinburgh. Originally trained as a computer scientist, he holds a DPhil in Computational Biology from the University of Oxford and postdoctoral experience at UCL. In 2015, he joined The University of Edinburgh as a Chancellor’s Fellow where he established his first research group at the Centre for Medical Informatics, Usher Institute. Since May 2021, he’s seconded to The Bayes Centre as Deputy Director. His group's research is on vascular structure and function. Their approach is theoretical through mathematical modelling and machine learning, and they work closely with vascular/cancer biologists and clinicians. Their research interests concern: a) the development of automated methods for eye and systemic disease diagnosis in retinal scans, b) the study of the tumour microvascular environment and its relationship with treatment, c) the mechanistic investigation of vascular remodelling during angiogenesis.
Dr Axel Montagne

Dr Axel Montagne joined the UK Dementia Research Institute at Edinburgh in December 2020. He completed his PhD degree at the University of Caen Normandy (France) in 2012, followed by postdoctoral training at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles from 2013 to 2016. Axel rapidly became Assistant then Associate Professor at USC in 2016 and 2020, respectively. His career has focused on how cerebrovascular dysfunctions contribute to neurodegeneration and dementia in both animal models and humans. In his UK DRI program, he combines molecular approaches with rodent non-invasive imaging, particularly MRI, PET, and two-photon microscopy, to study the causes and effects of blood-brain barrier (BBB) dysfunction, with a particular focus on the pericyte-endothelial crosstalk, in the context of neurodegenerative disease.

Dr Jess Ivy Jess Ivy is a Kidney Research UK Intermediate Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. Her lab’s aim is to understand the causes of circadian rhythm abnormalities of blood pressure. She has a particular focus on renal and vascular mechanisms and uses a combination of both in vivo and molecular approaches. Jess completed her British Heart Foundation-funded MSc and PhD at the University of Edinburgh 2016 and subsequently undertook a postdoctoral position with Prof Karen Chapman, a leading authority on glucocorticoid signalling before starting her own Kidney Research UK funded fellowship in Dec 2019.
Dr Zoi Michailidou Zoi Michailidou obtained her PhD in Molecular Endocrinology from Edinburgh University. She then awarded a Sir Henry Welcome Trust postdoctoral fellowship and joined Sir Peter Ratcliffe’s lab in Oxford where she investigated the causal role of reduced adipocyte oxygen supply in the development of metabolic disease. She is currently an Edinburgh Scientist Academic Track Fellow in Edinburgh exploring mechanisms and therapeutic potential of modulating the oxygen sensing pathway in obesity and related metabolic disease.
Dr Ahmad Al-Mbrabeh

Dr Al-Mrabeh did his PhD in Biology at the James Hutton Institute, Dundee between 2006-2010, before work in the proteomics and protein biochemistry facility at Newcastle University. In 2013, he joined Professor Roy Taylor’s group at Newcastle University and  started working on the mechanisms of type 2 diabetes (T2D) reversal by calorie restriction. He has wide interest in the aetiology and pathophysiology of T2D. Specifically, his research is centred around hepatic lipoprotein export, and how lipotoxicity may affect pancreas morphology and function during diabetes development. His key papers have been published in Cell Metabolism and Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.  

In August 2021, Dr Al-Mrabeh joined the Centre for Cardiovascular Science as a BHF REA3 Translational Research Fellow to investigate the mechanisms of T2D remission by weight loss, exploiting the excellent research environment at the University of Edinburgh, particularly in experimental medicine and animal modelling.

He aims to employ cutting-edge technologies including magnetic resonance, stable isotopic tracers, functional genomics, and advanced imaging mass spectrometry to study the mechanism(s) of T2D remission in human using a “nutritionally humanised” mouse model of T2D.

Professor Roland Stimson

Professor Stimson is a Scottish Senior Clinical Fellow and honorary consultant physician at the University of Edinburgh. Their lab specialises in the use of human experimental medicine studies to investigate human (patho)physiology in obesity and cardiometabolic disease. Their current focus is on dissecting the pathways regulating energy expenditure with the goal of identifying targets amenable to therapeutic manipulation.

Professor Scott Webster Scott trained in chemistry and has a long-standing focus on translating university research into new therapies. Following a period in biotech he joined the university to establish a drug discovery team, which has delivered three clinical development candidates, including one that has completed Phase 2 trials in the UK, US and Australia. He recently co-founded Kynos Therapeutics, which is developing new medicines for inflammatory conditions and cancer. His talk today will focus on preliminary work to establish preclinical proof of concept for the use of a novel autotaxin inhibitor to treat calcific disease.
Dr Mairi Brittan Research Fellow
Dr Ryan Wereski Ryan is a clinical research fellow and honorary cardiology registrar at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow. He is currently reading for a PhD at the Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences investigating the role of cardiac biomarkers in the acute and chronic coronary syndrome

Chairs on 10 February:

Professor Rob Semple Chair of Translational Molecular Medicine
Dr Barry McColl

Barry McColl is one of the founding programme leaders of the UK Dementia Research Institute at the University of Edinburgh. Research in his lab is directed at understanding how immune cells contribute to resilience and repair in CNS injury and disease, with particular interests in the functions of myeloid cells in cerebrovascular disease.

Dr Cécile Bénézech

Cécile Bénézech is a researcher at the University of Edinburgh in the Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences. Her lab focuses on the interplay between adipose tissue and immune system, with a particular focus on the impact of obesity on immune function and increase susceptibility to infection. Her lab also developed a recent interest in the role of adipose tissue macrophages in lipid metabolism.

Professor Nicholas Mills Chair of Cardiology, Butler BHF Senior Clinical Research Fellow and Consultant Cardiologist