University of Leicester Professor is Knighted in New Year's Honours

Posted by pt91 at Dec 30, 2014 10:40 PM |
British Heart Foundation Chair of Cardiology at the University and consultant cardiologist at Leicester's Hospitals is recognised for services to medicine and medical research

Internationally renowned University of Leicester Professor and graduate Nilesh Samani has been knighted in the New Year's Honours.

Professor Samani (pictured), who is British Heart Foundation Professor of Cardiology at Leicester and a Consultant at Leicester's Hospitals, based at Glenfield Hospital, has been honoured for services to medicine and medical research.

Professor Samani said: "I am both surprised and truly delighted to have been awarded this honour. I view it as a recognition of what we have tried to achieve in Leicester - to create a world class clinical and research centre dedicated to improving the treatment of heart diseases. In this endeavour, I have had the privilege of working with excellent colleagues at both the University of Leicester and at Glenfield Hospital. In this sense the award is as much for them as it is for me. From a personal perspective, I also need to acknowledge the unstinting support of my family who I know are very proud."

Congratulating Professor Samani, University of Leicester President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Boyle said: “This is a great honour for a truly inspirational member of the University community. Professor Samani's world-class research has helped to establish Leicester as an internationally  renowned centre of excellence for cardiovascular research.

“His work has a huge impact, not only on the thousands of people he treats locally each year, but for the 2.5million people who live with heart disease in the UK and for the worldwide community who will benefit from the major advances in prevention, treatment and care made possible by his team.”

Professor Nilesh Samani holds a prestigious British Heart Foundation Chair in Cardiology at the University of Leicester.   He is Head of the University’s Department of Cardiovascular Sciences and Consultant Cardiologist at Glenfield Hospital, Leicester, which sees over 15,000 cardiac patients each year. He is also Director of the National Institute for Health Research Leicester Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit, awarded jointly to a partnership between the University of Leicester and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Professor Samani leads an internationally acclaimed team of clinicians and researchers and is both held in high regard and viewed with great warmth by the thousands of families whose loved ones have been treated and cared for by his team.

Nilesh Samani graduated from the University of Leicester in 1978 with a first class BSc in Medical Sciences, following this with an MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery) with distinction in 1981 and an MD with Distinction in 1994, becoming a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in the same year.

In 1998 he became a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology, a Fellow of the American Heart Association in 2000 and a Fellow of the prestigious UK Academy of Medical Sciences in 2002. The following year he was awarded the British Heart Foundation Chair in Cardiology at the University of Leicester and was appointed as one of the first hundred National Institute for Health Research Senior Investigators in 2008.

He has contributed to fundamental discoveries, changed scientific thinking and impacted on clinical practice in the field of Cardiovascular Sciences.   In particular he has revealed the genetic basis of cardiovascular diseases and is investigating how that knowledge can be applied for better prevention, treatment and care.

Professor Samani’s notable achievements include the discovery of new genetic variants associated with risk of heart disease, including, in 2007, the discovery of the first common variant that increases the risk of heart attacks.  He has also discovered the relationship between biological ageing and the development of cardiovascular diseases.

Professor Samani was awarded the inaugural University of Leicester Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award in 2011 which  shows the recognition by his fellow alumni, not only of his world-leading research, but also of the life-changing difference he has made for countless patients and families suffering from cardiovascular diseases in Leicestershire and across the UK in a career spanning more than 30 years in Leicester. He has been the recipient of many national and international awards including the prestigious Okamoto Award of the Japan Cardiovascular Research Foundation in 2012. Earlier this year he received an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University in recognition of his contribution.

Having secured multi-million pound investments, he has established Leicester as a world-leading centre for heart research. This funding includes over £12 million for the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Unit in Cardiovascular Disease and £12.5 million towards the building and equipping of a new state of the art Cardiovascular Research Centre for the University and the local Hospital Trust in Leicester. This British Heart Foundation University of Leicester Cardiovascular Research Centre is now open and operational at Glenfield Hospital where researchers work alongside clinicians to deliver the benefits of the latest advances in research to patients.

His close links with the local community in Leicestershire and the high esteem with which he is held was recognised by his appointment as Deputy Lieutenant of Leicestershire in 2010.

A former University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust Consultant in Pain Management, Dr Beverly Collett, has been recognised for her work in the New Year’s Honours list.  Dr Collett has awarded an OBE for her services to pain management in the NHS.