University of Leicester receives major boost in heart surgery research funding

Posted by pt91 at Sep 27, 2012 11:45 AM |
New Professor receives £1.3 million grant
University of Leicester receives major boost in heart surgery research funding

Professor Gavin Murphy, newly appointed to the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences.

Issued by British Heart Foundation in September 2012

Photograph of Professor Murphy available from

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has named leading heart surgeon Gavin Murphy their BHF Professor of Cardiac Surgery. He has received a grant of £1.3 million from the BHF for his research and has moved from Bristol to the University of Leicester.

Professor Murphy hopes to improve outcomes following heart surgery and is specifically finding ways to reduce the risk of organ failure after an operation – this can increase complications, hospital stays and a person’s risk of dying.

Coronary heart disease (CHD) affects almost 200,000 people in the East Midlands and kills over 3,000 people under 75 in the East Midlands every year – over 250 people in Leicester alone (1). Some of these people require surgery to save their lives or relieve their symptoms and it is vital that these operations have the best possible outcomes.

People who undergo heart surgery currently have a risk of suffering organ failure of up to 30 per cent. This is caused by the inevitable trauma and stress the body undergoes during these operations, which can lead to organ damage. Professor Murphy’s research is focused on finding new treatments that could be used to try to prevent organ failure after heart surgery (2).

Professor Murphy will now have the opportunity to link up with Leicester’s BHF Professor of Cardiology Nilesh Samani. The University of Leicester has received over £10 million in research funding from the BHF over the past five years.

Upon receiving this funding award, BHF Professor Gavin Murphy said:

“It’s a tremendous honour to become a BHF Professor and a fantastic opportunity to make further developments in my research. It gives me the support I need to do high quality work, and be more ambitious in the type of projects I get involved in.

“I want to change the way people are treated for the better. My new role as a BHF Professor is to do research that improves the lives of patients who have to undergo heart surgery.”

BHF Medical Director, Professor Peter Weissberg, said:

“Because of the great advances that have taken place in surgical techniques since the BHF was founded in 1961, more and more patients are benefiting from heart surgery. But the job is not done and Professor Murphy’s research is focused on gaining the very best outcomes for patients undergoing major heart surgery.

“As the population ages and more and more elderly people undergo heart operations it is essential we understand how to minimise post-operative complications so that more patients can undergo this life transforming treatment successfully.”

Professor Nilesh Samani, BHF Professor of Cardiology and Head of Department of Cardiovascular Sciences at the University of Leicester said:

“We are delighted to welcome Professor Murphy to Leicester. His work fits in very well with our strategy to translate research discoveries in the laboratory to the clinic as quickly as possible. He will benefit from the recent major investment we have had in Leicester from the BHF, the NIHR, the University and others in developing our facilities for research into heart diseases”.

For more information about BHF-funded research visit


For more information please call the BHF press office on 0207 554 0164 or 07764 290 381 (out of hours) or email

Notes to editors:

1)     Scarborough P et al (2010). Coronary heart disease statistics 2010 edition. British Heart Foundation: London.

2)     Opportunities to meet Professor Murphy and visit his new facilities at Leicester are available upon request.

3)     A high resolution image of Professor Murphy is available upon request.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) is the nation’s heart charity, dedicated to saving lives through pioneering research, patient care, campaigning for change and by providing vital information. But we urgently need help. We rely on donations of time and money to continue our life-saving work. Because together we can beat heart disease.

For more information visit

The University of Leicester is a leading UK University committed to international excellence through the creation of world changing research and high quality, inspirational teaching. Leicester is the most socially inclusive of Britain's top-20 leading universities – elite without being elitist.

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