Category Archive Uncategorized

Report of the British Society for Cardiovascular Research Inaugural Online Autumn Meeting 2020

A report of the British Society for Cardiovascular Research Inaugural Online Autumn Meeting 2020 is available here

Scottish Cardiovascular Forum 2021 Meeting Report

Scottish Cardiovascular Forum 2021 Meeting Report

Francesca Vacante, Centre for Cardiovascular Science, University of Edinburgh

The 24th Scottish Cardiovascular Forum meeting took place on the 3-5th of February 2021 via the Zoom platform. Similar to other conferences and meetings this year, the conference had to be hosted virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, although the virtual format did not allow social interactions, the meeting was a great success as the organisers had included space for questions and discussion sessions for the participants throughout each of the days. The meeting was well attended and included research from Universities across the UK, such as Strathclyde, Ulster, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.

The first two days (the 3rd and the 4th of February) hosted the “poster presentation” section, where PhD students and early career researchers presented their work in a few minutes, highlighting the key points of their projects. This section included a wide spectrum of research focusing on understanding the cellular and molecular events leading to cardiovascular pathologies, such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, hypoxia, diabetes and pulmonary arterial hypertension. The nominated committee for the poster prize award selected 6 posters for a final presentation on the last day of the meeting.

At the start of the conference, Dr Susan Currie, Chair of the Scottish Cardiovascular Forum, introduced the speakers of the day, providing an overview and the main purpose of the annual meetings which aim to increase local networking, collaborations and interactions between Universities and research centres across Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland. Prof. Stuart Nicklin from Glasgow University was the first speaker and gave the first keynote lecture of the day. His research focuses on understanding the renin-angiotensin axis during vascular remodelling. In particular, Prof. Nicklin highlighted the important role of Angiotensin I-9 (Ang 1-9) during the early remodelling in vein grafting failure and neointimal formation. Following the keynote talk, Oral Communication session 1 and 3 included 5 minute talks from early career researchers selected for their abstract, followed by 10 minutes for Q&A. The oral presentations were judged by the committee and this included the winner of this section, Dr. Martina Rooney from Ulster University. Dr. Rooney’s talk focused on the impact of a specific polymorphism of the gene encoding for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, associated with high risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease, on the development of high blood pressure.

The Oral Communications section included a specific session dedicated to the Roger Wadsworth Award competition, where 4 PhD students in the final year of doctoral studies, were selected based on their curriculum, previous awards achieved, publications and abstract submitted. Finalists included Adewale Akinosun from the University of the Highlands and Islands whose talk was entitled ‘Cardiovascular disease behavioural risk factor modification interventions: defining impactful cluster target(s)’, Ben Veerman from the University of Strathclyde who spoke about Novel off-target effects of doxorubicin on cardiovascular gap junctional proteins and Mhairi Paul from Robert Gordon University Aberdeen who spoke about her work investigating Wnt Signalling in a two-hit experimental model of Diastolic Heart Failure. The quality of science and presentation skills of all the selected candidates challenged the committee’s final decision. It was a great honour for me to be selected as the winner of this session.

My PhD project and presentation focused on understanding the role and function of a conserved long noncoding RNA- microRNA axis, CARMN-miR143/145, during the development of human and mouse atherosclerosis. During my PhD I have shown that the loss of the expression of this axis is an early event during the development of atherosclerosis, which leads to dysregulated smooth muscle cells in vitro, advanced plaques and accelerated atherosclerosis in vivo.

Following the lunch break, the 6 finalists selected for poster presentations gave an overview of their posters of whom the PhD student Karla O’Neill from Queen’s University in Belfast, won the first prize. In her poster, Karla explained the importance of Nox4 signalling as regulator of hyperglycaemia in ischaemic cardiovascular diseases. Dr Maurice O’Kane, Clinical Director of the Northern Ireland Clinical Research Network (NICRN), was the second keynote speaker of the day. His talk highlighted the importance of the management and study of biological mechanisms underlying familial hypercholesterolemia. Finally, the prize winners were announced by Dr Currie. Normally Dr Moira Wadsworth, Professor Wadsworth’s wife, presents the winner of the Roger Wadsworth Award. However, due to the virtual nature of this year’s meeting, this presentation was not possible. Dr Wadsworth was in attendance at the meeting and hopefully next year, will be able to present the prize in person again.

The 24th Scottish Cardiovascular Forum was a great success, rich in high-quality cardiovascular science and excellent presentations. I would like to express my gratitude to the Wadsworth family for their important support to final year PhD students, and to the SCF committee, SIPBS, Strathclyde and Ulster University for their impeccable and successful organisation of this great meeting. Information on the next year’s SCF can be found on the webpage:


Dr. Susan Currie announces the prizes winners for the best Oral communication, Martina Rooney, best poster prize, Karla O’Neill, and the Roger Wadsworth Award winner, Francesca Vacante. The SCF 2021 was a Zoom virtual event.



The ISHR Richard J. Bing Award for Young Investigators

The International Society for Heart Research (ISHR) is seeking applications for a distinguished award of international importance for recognizing outstanding young scientists: The Richard J Bing Young Investigator Award. The monetary prize is $1,500 for the winner of the Richard J Bing Award and $1,000 for 3 runner-up Finalists. This high-profile recognition will be presented at the XXIIIth ISHR World Congress in Beijing, China, June 3-6, 2019. The Winner and Finalists will be announced in the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology (the official publication of the ISHR), on the ISHR website, and in Heart News and Views (the newsletter of the ISHR).

Full details of this award, including a list of previous recipients and relevant guidelines can be found here.

The guidelines should be consulted before preparing any application.

  • The purpose of this Award is to recognize outstanding research endeavors by new investigators and to encourage continued cardiovascular research careers
  • Candidates must be active members (or have applied for membership) of the ISHR at the time of application
  • Candidates must have received their PhD or equivalent less than 8 years prior to the opening day of the World Congress. Allowance will be made for career breaks. It is the responsibility of the candidate and supervisor to justify the degree of disruption to the career
  • Four finalists will present their work at the XXIIIth ISHR World Congress
  • The deadline for receipt of applications is February 1, 2019

As detailed in the relevant guidelines on the ISHR website, all nomination materials should be provided in electronic format, as a SINGLE PDF file either via email or on a flash drive. If you do not get a confirming e-mail within one week, please send a follow-up inquiry without the attached files.

Applications/Nominations should be submitted (by email, mail/airmail or courier) to BOTH:

Dr Åsa Gustafsson
Chair – Bing Award Selection Committee
Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
University of California San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive #0758
La Jolla, CA 92093-0758
Tel: (858)822-5569
Email: [email protected]


Dr Leslie Anderson Lobaugh
ISHR Executive Secretary
PO Box 52643
Durham, NC 27717-2643
Tel: (919)493-4418
Email: [email protected]

Travel Report – BSCR/BAS Spring Meeting 2018


Emily Dookun, PhD student

Newcastle University, Institute of Genetic Medicine

This year the Spring 2018 joint meeting between the BSCR and BAS was held at the BCS annual conference at Manchester Central on 4th-5th June 2018. This is one of two annual meetings that the BSCR and BAS organise. However, having been hosted alongside the BCS, this conference provided excellent opportunities to engage and learn more about the clinical research that is conducted alongside the basic science research that is driven by the BSCR/BAS meetings. This year marked the 7th joint meeting, and was composed of a varied selection of lectures and presentations with a particular focus on the following topics: Ageing and senescence in the cardiovascular system; Nanomedicine for the future diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease; Inflammation as a link between hypertension and cardiovascular risk?; a translational session on Inflammation in the pathogenesis and treatment of coronary heart disease and acute coronary syndrome; and Disease modelling in a dish.

The meeting commenced with the session on “Ageing and senescence in the cardiovascular system”. Being a relatively infantile topic within the scope of cardiovascular research, and being a PhD student with a strong interest and focus on cardiac senescence in my project, this was truly an exciting session led by world leading researchers in the field. Furthering my understanding of senescence throughout the cardiovascular system and its role in numerous disorders was fascinating. As well as this, discussing my work with these prominent researchers at the poster sessions and conference dinner was fantastic and has really benefitted me as a second year student in directing my project in new and exciting directions going into my final year, and hopefully forged future collaborations with.

The other sessions over both the first and second day were equally informative and all linked together nicely, especially with the ‘Hot Topic’ sessions, covering subjects from iPS cells differentiation into cardiomyocytes, to the potential applications of nanomedicine in treating cardiovascular disease, as well as linking inflammation to oxidative stress and hypertension across many talks.

The first day ended with a stimulating keynote John French Lecture given by Dr Sarah De Val. Her work at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at Oxford University is highly impressive. By using enhancer analysis, Dr De Val and her team are furthering our understanding of the many complex and integrated regulatory pathways that are involved in the regulation of blood vessel growth both during development and disease. The complexity of this work and the implications it may have across the entire scope of cardiovascular disease is extraordinary. As well, her story about how her work and lab has developed though the difficulties and complications that many labs experience was, to a young researcher, inspiring.

Afterwards, the BHF hosted a drinks reception where they updated the BSCR and BAS delegates on their work and future directions. Very few labs would be able to conduct the ground-breaking research that they do without t

he generous support of the BHF, so hearing how our work can feedback to help the BHF was motivating. Continuing on this theme and concluding the meeting was the BCS keynote lecture given by Professor Martin Cowie. Hearing his thoughts on translating basic science into the clinic was interesting and a unique experience, especially considering his roles within the ESC, NICE, numerous prominent journals as well as many other national and international societies and associations.

As the BSCR and BAS always like to include a strong focus on early career investigators, there was a stimulating session on the second day comprising of four talks. All talks were very thought-provoking and demonstrate the amazing impact that we as young researchers can have driving research within our labs. Special congratulations has to be made to the winner Dr Edgar for his work dissecting the relationship between diabetes and atherosclerosis via inflammation, and the runner up Dr Kaier for his work on cardiac myosin-binding protein C and its potential to aid in the diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction. Translating basic science research to a clinical setting is essential to ensure that medicine continues to progress and improve.

I’d like to thank the BSCR for contributing towards my expenses, and to them and the BAS for the opportunity to present my work entitled “Accumulation of Cardiomyocyte Senescence following Ischaemia-Reperfusion Injury; a potential therapeutic target?” as a poster at this prominent meeting. Cardiovascular science has always really interested me, and I am rapidly developing a real passion for senescence and regenerative medicine. This conference was a fantastic opportunity to network and further my interests. I greatly look forward to attending the next BSCR/BAS conference!

NOX Family NADPH Oxidases Gordon Research Seminar (GRS): Biological Roles of NADPH Oxidases: Insights into Fundamental Mechanisms and Therapeutic Potential

Dates and site: Les Diablerets, Switzerland, May 26th-27th 2018

Chairs: David E. Heppner (Harvard Medical School, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, USA) and Aikaterini Anagnostopoulou (University of Glasgow, Research Associate, BHF Cardiovascular Research Center, Glasgow, Scotland, UK)

Cardiovascular disorders including hypertension, cardiac myopathies and others are fundamentally associated with Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) and the key enzymes producing ROS are NADPH Oxidases (NOX).  Even though, NOX-induced ROS/oxidative stress signalling has been linked to cell migration, cell proliferation/apoptosis, actin cytoskeleton assembly/disassembly, vascular contraction, vascular remodelling, fibrosis and inflammation, how NOXs in smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) and endothelial cells (ECs) regulate these cell functions is not clear. It is uncertain what the function of ROS  is in specific compartmentalization of vascular cells including cell membrane, caveolae, endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria and nucleus. What is happening at the forefront of basic and translational NOX research and NOX drug discovery efforts is presented and debated by young investigator researchers every two years at the NOX Family NADPH Oxidases Gordon Research Seminar (GRS).

The NADPH Oxidases Gordon Research Seminar is a highly, successful and unique forum for young researchers including graduate students, post-docs, and other scientists with comparable levels of experience and education to present and exchange new data and cutting edge ideas.  This is a great opportunity for young researchers to build informal networks with their peers that may lead to a lifetime of collaboration and scientific achievement in the NOX field.  The NOX GRS which is held in conjunction with the NOX Gordon Research Conference attracts researchers working in the NOX field and feature state-of-the-art oral and poster presentations comprising the latest unpublished work from various research labs who are working in the NOX/Redox signalling.

The NOX Family NADPH Oxidases GRS 2018: Biological roles of NADPH Oxidases: Insights into Fundamental Mechanisms and Therapeutic Potential was a two-day seminar (Saturday and Sunday) which was held on May 26th-27th 2018 at Les Diablerets, Switzerland.  The NOX GRS seminar consisted of three sessions of Oral presentations and two poster sessions.  19 people attended the meeting where 13 young investigators presented their work in either the oral (10 talks) and/or poster sessions (13 poster).  The attendees came from Brazil, USA and Europe (France, Italy, Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland and UK).

The Oral presentation program consisted of three sessions: Session I: Structure and Regulation of NADPH Oxidase Enzymes; Session II: Biological Roles of NADPH Oxidases and Redox Signalling: From the Single Cell to the Complex Organism and Session III: NADPH Oxidases in Health and Disease.  Each presentation consisted of 15-20 mins followed by 5 mins of discussion.  The two poster sessions were one and a half hours. During the oral and poster sessions, there were ample opportunities for discussions and interactions between the young investigators and the invited senior scientists. The oral/poster sessions consisted of multidisciplinary aspects in the study of NOX enzymes from perspectives of molecular-level structure and function to relevance in health and disease including cardiovascular, cancer, pulmonary, and inflammatory diseases.

The GRS also featured a one hour mentorship/career panel of four invited speakers who are experts in the NOX/DUOX field or related research themes.  The four speakers who were part of the Mentorship panel were Ulla Knaus, Conway Institute, University College Dublin, Ireland; Albert van der Vliet, University of Vermont, USA; Patrick Pagano, University of Pittsburgh, USA and Nancy Hynes, Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Switzerland.  The mentorship panel consisted of questions/discussions in career development and personal experiences on career trajectories from a graduate student to a successful scientist.  GRS participants were able to interact with the mentors during the GRS and the “NOX Family NADPH Oxidases” GRC meeting which was held in Les Diablerets on May 27th until June 1st 2018 right after the GRS.

Based on GRS meeting evaluations filled in by the GRS participants, the meeting was successful in terms of NOX science and scientific and social interactions.  Based on the evaluations, the young investigators found the program and oral/poster presentations interesting and insightful and they liked the diversity of different topics in the NADPH oxidases field.  It gave them a great opportunity to interact with other participants and senior scientists to talk about their research projects and technical issues.  Furthermore, the young investigators found the career panel valuable and enlightening.

The GRS chairs are very grateful to the British Society of Cardiovascular Research (BSCR) for the generous contribution of £150 as a poster prize for a young investigator. Marta Ceccon (Scuola Universitaria Superiore, University of Padia, Italy, PhD student) was awarded the BSCR poster prize for her poster entitled “Biochemical and structural characterization of Nox5.” The BSCR contribution was acknowledged during the GRS meeting and it will be included in the GRC President’s annual report.

   Mrs. Mart Ceccon

Winners of the BSCR Spring Meeting 2018

This year’s BSCR Spring meeting was a great success and a number of great candidates participated in the Young Investigator Prize and the poster sessions. The winners on each occasion were:


Young Investigator Prize

Winner: Laurienne Edgar (University of Oxford)

Runners-up: Thomas Kaier (King’s College London), Ify Mordi (University of Dundee), Claire Raphael (NIHR Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit, London)


Poster Prize

Monday: Ardiansah Nugroho (University of Manchester)

Tuesday: Claire Hepburn (University of Birmingham)

Travel Report – 10th Symposium on Biologic Scaffolds for Regenerative Medicine

10th Symposium on Biologic Scaffolds for Regenerative Medicine

Napa, California, USA

Arianna Ferrini

PhD student

British Heart Foundation Centre for Research Excellence

Imperial College London (UK)


The 10th Symposium on Biologic Scaffolds for Regenerative Medicine was held in Napa, California (USA) between the 3rd and the 5th of May 2018. This symposium is held bi-annually in the beautiful location of Silverado Resort, surrounded by the world-famous vineyards of Napa, just an hour from San Francisco. The meeting is highly interdisciplinary in nature and it is designed to advance the understanding and use of biologic scaffold materials for regenerative medicine and all general surgery applications. The format of the meeting included a series of presentations describing the potential benefits and risks associated with the use of biologic-derived scaffolds, time for networking, together with engaging discussion during the poster session. I was lucky enough to get some travel funding from the British Society for Cardiovascular Research to attend and present my PhD work, for which I am grateful.

Silverado Resort, Napa

The meeting started with an extremely inspiring keynote lecture delivered by Professor Mina Bissel from the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory and for a taste of her moving presentation I highly recommend her TED Talk entitled “Experiments that point to a new understanding of cancer”.

Day 2 started in the earnest with a welcome from the Scientific Director and organiser of the meeting, Professor Stephen F. Badylak, who is the deputy director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and whom I was really excited to meet. Sessions on day 2 were varied and covered different topics and different fields, from an overview of Extracellular Matrix (ECM) structure and function to clinical applications and outcomes of ECM-based technologies. While I learnt from every sessions and from the mix of basic science and clinical studies presentations, some of the talks that I particularly enjoyed where the one from Professor Christopher Breuer from The Ohio State University College of Medicine, who gave an interesting update on his team’s work on the development and the translation of tissue engineered vascular grafts for congenital heart surgery and Professor Karen Christman from the University of San Diego who presented her results on using injectable extracellular-matrix derived hydrogel for treating cardiovascular diseases.

Poster session

At the end of day 2, together with a wine reception to let us taste the local specialities, there was an interesting poster session, with around 30 posters from PhD students and Post-Doctoral researchers from all around the world. Here, I presented my work entitled “Acidity in the heart: strategies to harness it for therapeutic intervention” and I got some useful feedback, which I will treasure in preparation for publication.

Between the poster session and the dinner, a very fun and different lecture was delivered by Professor Buddy Ratner, who’s not only a Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Washington but also a wine-lover and a wine connoisseur. His talk entitled “Napa Wines: Tectonic Plates and Tannic Palates” was an interesting introduction to the local area and to the wine culture in California.

On Day 3, the plenary session was delivered by Professor Alberto Mantovani from Humanitas University in Milan, a world-famous immunologist who gave a comprehensive overview of the interplay between macrophages and humoral innate immunity in tissue repair and remodelling. Amongst others, talks that I found particularly interesting where given by Professor Lauren Black, Dr Harald Ott and Dr Helen Berry, who are all studying tissue engineered strategies to tackle cardiovascular diseases.

Learning about wines too

An aspect that I particularly enjoyed about this symposium was its interdisciplinary nature, with topics ranging from the basic science of cell/matrix interaction to preclinical and clinical studies in different fields of application, such as cardiovascular diseases or cartilage and bone regeneration. Moreover, I particularly enjoyed the practical perspective given by many of the speakers who were clinicians and the small and informal format of the meeting (around 100-110 attendees) that maximised and encouraged dialogue among the attendees and the speakers; hence, it was great to have the chance to discuss with world-renowned leaders in the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Finally, a very nice location and amazing local food and wine were a plus that I really appreciated.

As a final year PhD student, attending this conference was a great opportunity not only to present my work and receive valuable feedback about it, but also to meet the scientists doing cutting-edge discoveries in the exciting and fast developing field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Since this is the topic that really fascinates me and in which I intend to continue my academic career, this conference also gave me a precious opportunity to establish a network for my future and I am deeply grateful to the British Society for Cardiovascular Research for contributing towards my expenses.

BSCR Autumn 2017 abstracts

The abstracts from the BSCR Autumn 2017 meeting are now published. You can read them here.