Cardiovascular research has been a major strength of the Leicester Medical School since its inception. In the 2008 RAE, 95% of the cardiovascular research in Leicester was considered to be of international level, over half the submitted outputs ranked as outstanding or excellent and one in seven of the submitted research outputs ranked as world-leading.
The Department of Cardiovascular Sciences undertakes research ranging from molecular and cellular studies, all the way through translational research and into clinical studies. The strong links with the NHS were highlighted in the RAE. This has been further recognised by the award of a National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Unit (BRU) in Cardiovascular Disease to a partnership of the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL) and the University of Leicester, which has recently been renewed for a further 5 years from April 2012. The BRU is an integral part of the Department and its mission is to undertake high quality clinical research, especially translational research taking laboratory findings into the clinical setting and including Phase 1 through to Phase 3 studies. The BRU has established state-of-the-art facilities for clinical research on the Glenfield Hospital site, including a 3T MRI scanner (Siemens Skyra).
In addition the Department occupies excellent accommodation in the Clinical Sciences Wing in Glenfield Hospital, the Robert Kilpatrick Clinical Sciences Building at the Leicester Royal Infirmary (LRI) and the University facilities at Leicester General Hospital. A £12.5 million Cardiovascular Research Centre has recently opened at Glenfield. This provides an additional 2,200m facility including a biobank capable of storing samples from up to 100,000 individuals, a clinical research informatics unit and a data to knowledge unit, which together will capture, code and translate anonymous patient data for research and will accommodate an advanced IT link between the University and hospital.
Major areas of research in the Department include: cardiovascular genetics, vascular biology, hypertension and vascular damage, thrombosis and haemostasis, coronary artery disease, heart failure, stroke and baroreceptor regulation, cardiac arrhythmias, carotid and peripheral vascular disease, myocardial protection and regeneration, biomarkers and diagnostics, and diabetes.
The Department is organised into three Research Sections to mirror cardiovascular sub-themes in the College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology. These are:
|Cardiovascular Genomics and Proteomics|
|Cardiovascular Cell Biology and Cell Signalling|
|Cardiovascular Physiology and Pathophysiology and Clinical Trials|
The department also hosts an Ophthalmology research group.