Translational Research on Heart Failure and Arrhythmias

Group leaders: Prof Paulus Kirchhof and Dr Larissa Fabritz


Heart failure, sudden death, and atrial fibrillation are often manifestations of cardiomyopathies and chronic cardiac damage. We study the effects of genetic factors for the development of heart failure and the arrhythmia syndromes sudden death and atrial fibrillation. We use molecular biology, imaging, and physiological techniques to identify such mechanisms, and test interventions to prevent heart failure and arrhythmias in experimental models and in clinical trials.

Our research group

Having arrived in Birmingham in 2011, the majority of our work is now carried out locally. We maintain close research contacts with the German Atrial Fibrillation NETwork and with the Medical Faculty at the University of Münster. We maintain close links with major international, British, and German Professional Organisations and research networks. The group uses physiological measurements, molecular biology, and imaging techniques to characterise heart function in transgenic models. These allow us to identify molecular mechanisms of cardiac dysfunction (e.g. in inherited cardiomyopathies) and help to delineate new therapeutic targets for the treatment of heart failure and arrhythmias.

Together with colleagues in Birmingham and beyond, we explore possibilities to translate these insights into hypotheses that can be tested in clinical trials and/or in biobanks, with the final goal to improve treatment of patients suffering from heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and/or to prevent sudden death. Paulus sits on several guideline committees as well, thereby supporting translation.

Current projects

  • Deciphering the genetic topology of atrial fibrillation
  • Understanding the function of pitx2 in the left atrium
  • Translating mechanisms of AF into new diagnostic and therapeutic modalities
  • Translating mechanisms of AF into new diagnostic and therapeutic modalities
  • Sodium channel dysfunction and its contribution to heart failure and arrhythmias
  • Understanding the relevance of desmosomal proteins for right heart function and failure
  • Improving outcomes by early rhythm control therapy in atrial fibrillation

Recent publications

For full publication lists see:


Principal Investigators
Professor Paulus Kirchhof
Dr Larissa Fabritz 
Dr Davor Pavlovic

Postdoctoral Researchers
Dr Andrew Holmes
Dr Fahima Syeda
Dr Samantha Tull
Dr Eleni Vloumidi

Dr Lisa Fortmeller - at University of Münster, Germany

PhD Students and Clinical Research Fellows
Stefan Kuhlmann
Yanish Purmah
Jawad Qamar
Ting Yu Yue

Research Technicians
Pushpa Patel
Syeeda Nashitha Kabir

Former Group Members
Sarah Hopkins
Dr Genna Riley
Sebastian Fischbach
Marcel Kemper