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Aim: to focus expertise in drug discovery and pharmacology on the cardiovascular system through synergistic interactions between chemists, pharmacologists, cardiovascular scientists and computational biologists.

There is an urgent need for better therapeutic treatment of cardiovascular disorders, particularly those acting at the level of the myocardium. In addition, cardiac toxicity of drugs, such as potentially fatal ventricular arrhythmias, is a major reason for the failure of new drugs to reach the clinic and is thus a topic that is of increasing importance to all the stakeholders in drug development.

In this theme, we have the expertise to study the interactions of molecules with living systems on a multiscale level: on isolated proteins, organelles, cells, tissues and in whole organisms.

Medicinal chemistry has also been identified as a major strategic priority by the University of Oxford. The BHF Centre of Research Excellence has provided a new impetus for discovering novel therapeutic targets, small molecule chemical tools and potential drug candidates by fostering of interactions between the Physical and Life Science departments and the Medical School in cardiovascular disease.

The study of basic mechanisms and pathways involved in cardiac pacemaking and contractility or the control of the vasculature will highlight new targets for molecular intervention in cardiovascular disease. In combination, the generation of small molecules will allow the probing of such mechanisms and pathways both to enhance our understanding of the basic biology or pathology, and to highlight new possible therapeutic leads and thus attract the attention of industry.

Key areas of study:

  • Cellular mechanisms of pacemaking and arrhythmogenesis
  • Inotropic mechanisms
  • Pathway biology of the cardiovascular system
  • Endothelial-vascular smooth muscle signalling
  • Development of novel anti-ischaemic agents
  • Ion channel reconstitution studies
  • Chemical modulators for the manipulation of haematopoietic stem cell populations
  • Development of novel anti-inflammatory drugs for atherosclerosis
  • Mechanisms of drug-induced cardio-toxicity

The CRE has made a major investment in the new BHF Centre for Cardiovascular Target Discovery in Oxford. Click here for further information on the Centre.

Our team