Our established multi-disciplinary scientific excellence in Vascular Biology, Inflammation and Angiogenesis

Blood vein with red cells coming through

Our established multi-disciplinary research theme is focused on the multifaceted biology of endothelial cells. This includes their roles in inflammation and the formation of new vessels, both of which play critical roles in the pathogenesis of a range of diseases as diverse as atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer.

About the research

Our world leading research into acute physiological inflammation and chronic inflammatory diseases has changed the way we understand the inflammatory process. It has also led to the discovery of novel tumour endothelial targets and the development of novel anti-cancer agents.

A core theme of our research determines how circulating white blood cells are recruited to inflamed tissues. We continue to identify new paradigms of leukocyte trafficking, having recently established new anti-inflammatory roles for dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) which control the migration of neutrophils and T-cells. The role of tissue cells in regulating inflammation is also an extremely active area of research where our science is greatly aided by a new state of the art facility for imaging leukocyte trafficking into live tissues. 

Angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels is a key component of many pathologies including cancer, atherosclerosis and arthritis. We have for many years studied differential gene expression in vessels of pathologic tissue such as tumour vessels compared to those in healthy tissue.

A corner stone of our scientific effort is the translation of our innovative science into the clinic for the benefit of patients. The localisation of stem cells and their therapeutic affects in cardiovascular inflammation is being investigated in a new model of the beating heart. 

The Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences is also the academic base for two University Spinout Companies. Chimeric Therapeutics Ltd, which is developing new therapies employing T cells against CLEC14A on the vessels in solid tumors (please see the latest Enterprise and Innovation annual report), and Viatem Ltd, which is undertaking an R&D programme to develop new anti-inflammatory drugs from the PEPITEM peptide. 

Current Groups

Angiogenesis Group 
Principal Investigators: Professor Roy Bicknell and Dr Victoria Heath

Cardiovascular Translational Group: Myocardial Infarction and Heart Failure
Principal Investigator:  Dr Melanie Madhani

Leukocyte Trafficking 
Principal Investigators: Professor Ed Rainger, Dr Helen McGettrick, Dr Asif Iqbal, Dr Myriam Chimen

Microcirculation Research Group 
Principal Investigator: Dr Neena Kalia

Vascular and Reproductive Biology 
Principal Investigator: Dr Peter Hewett

Vascular Tetraspanin Group 
Principal Investigator: Dr Michael Tomlinson

BCRG (Birmingham Cardio-Renal Group) 
Principal Investigators: Professor Jonathan Townend, Professor Charles Ferro and Dr Richard Steeds