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The British Heart Foundation (BHF) is the official charity partner for The Gemini Boat Race. Oxford cardiovascular research DPhil students Catherine King (IDRM) and Claire Aitken (RDM) are funded by the BHF and proud to be part of this year’s race.

Woman holding a BHF fundraising bucket, with the words 'Volunteers help us save lives'


There are two ways you can get involved:

About the partnership

The BHF-Gemini Boat Race partnership aims to save lives by raising awareness of the risk of cardiovascular disease, and improve the chances of survival among spectators of The Boat Race, by encouraging them to learn CPR. The British Heart Foundation is a key sponsor of cardiovascular research in Oxford, including the BHF Oxford Centre of Research Excellence.  

RDM DPhil Student Claire Aitken and IDRM-DPAG DPhil student Catherine King are both part of Oxford's women's squad this year, and both are funded for their studies by the BHF.
Claire is pursuing a DPhil in Cardiovascular Science in the Tzima group.

She says: 'I'm researching how blood flow contributes to the development of fatty plaques inside the blood vessels. This type of research is vital for improving disease treatments, so I feel like I'm contributing to something important. Winning the boat race would mean so much, especially because of the number of people – teammates, coaches, friends and family – supporting you to achieve this goal.'

Catherine and Gemma King (twins) with oars by river.Catherine is specialising in regenerative medicine, and her research project focuses on how to minimise damage to heart tissue following heart attack. She is facing the prospect of competing with her twin sister who is in the Cambridge squad!

Catherine says: 'It's really exciting that the BHF is going to be the charity partner for The Boat Race. It combines the two great loves of my life! Rowing is such a big aspect of my life and now the sport will be helping to raise vital funds for research into heart and circulatory disease'