Professor Derek M Yellon (Director)

Prof Derek M.Yellon, PhD, DSc, FRCP (Hon), FACC, FESC, FAHA

Derek M Yellon is Professor of Molecular & Cellular Cardiology at University College London. Professor Yellon, established the Hatter Cardiovascular Institute in 1991 and continues to lead as its Director.

In 1993 he was appointed Professor of Molecular & Cellular Cardiology at University College London. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians; the American College of Cardiology; the European Society of Cardiology; the International Society for Heart Research and the American Heart Association.

Professor Yellon established the Hatter Cardiovascular Institute as a specialised translational research institution to investigate myocardial protection, the pathophysiology of cardioprotection in the setting of diabetes, ischaemia/reperfusion injury, molecular aspects of adaptation to ischaemic injury and myocardial pre and post conditioning in both the basic and clinical arenas. Under Professor Yellon’s guidance, the Hatter Cardiovascular Institute has developed a strong reputation in these areas, leading on international trials and forging strong collaborative links with both industry and academia. Through the work of the past 30 years, Professor Yellon has now developed complementary programmes including ischaemic stroke and cardioprotection following cancer therapy.

He is on the editorial board of several major Cardiovascular Journals and has published more than 500 full papers and edited 22 books.

Research Team

Dr J. Malcolm Walker, BSc, MD, FRCP (Clinical Director)

Dr Malcolm Walker trained in cardiology at St Thomas’ Hospital London, then Oxford before being appointed as a Consultant Cardiologist at University College & the Middlesex Hospitals, London in 1987. Together with Professor Yellon, Dr Walker was instrumental in establishing the Hatter Cardiovascular Institute and continues to serve as its Clinical Director.

Over his 40 years of clinical experience, Dr Walker has developed an expertise in cardiology ranging from intervention in ischaemia to the development of cardiac rehabilitation programmes.  Throughout this time, he has maintained a strong focus on inherited blood conditions. In 1993 he established a dedicated cardiology service for patients with thalassaemia and sickle cell anaemia and has earned an international reputation in this specialised area of medicine. His work developing specialised T2* MRI sequences has resulted in a significant reduction in mortality for these patients. Recently he has built on his experience in cardiac screening and has embarked on a clinical and laboratory research programme investigating the cardiovascular consequences of cancer and cancer therapy.

He is on the scientific boards of the national and international bodies that support thalassaemia patients (UKTS and TIF) and has written the National and International guidelines for clinical management of these disorders. Dr Walker is the author of over 120 publications and book contributions.

Prof Derek Hausenloy, MBChB, PhD, FRCP (UK), FACC, FESC

Derek Hausenloy is Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at University College London and an Honorary Consultant Cardiologist at UCLH.  As Professor at Duke-National University of Singapore Medical School and Senior Consultant and Clinician Scientist at the National Heart Centre, Singapore, Professor Hausenloy is a key collaborator for the Hatter Cardiovascular Institute.

Professor Hausenloy conducts both basic and clinical research in the areas of ischaemic heart disease, heart failure, cardioprotection, cardiac MRI, cardiac PET/MR, acute ischaemia/reperfusion injury, ischaemic pre/post-conditioning, and cardiac disease modelling using hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes.  His research focus is on discovering novel therapies for protecting the heart against the detrimental effects of acute ischaemia/reperfusion injury to prevent the onset of heart failure. He uses a translational approach to cardioprotection ranging from cellular and animal models of acute ischaemia/reperfusion injury to proof-of-concept clinical studies in acute myocardial infarction and cardiac bypass surgery patients, and finally to large multi-centre randomised clinical trials focused on clinical outcomes. Prof Hausenloy has been PI on over 20 research grants, and he has authored over 240 papers with an H-index of 78. He was named as a Highly Cited Researcher in 2018.

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Dr Sean M Davidson, BSc (Hons), PhD (Principal Research Associate)

Dr Davidson is the leader of the Exome Research Group at the Hatter Cardiovascular Institute. The overarching aim of Dr Davidson’s research is to identify novel methods to protect the heart from injury sustained during a myocardial infarction, or heart attack. He supervises several postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers who are studying cardioprotective pathways (the “reperfusion injury salvage kinase” or RISK pathway) and cell death pathways (mitochondrially mediated necrosis, necroptosis, pyroptosis). A key focus of his research is on the role of nanoparticles called exosomes, and how they can be used to protect the heart via these pathways. The research is laboratory-based but with a clear aim to translating through to clinical application and ultimately, patient benefit.

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Dr Robert Bell, MRCP, PhD (Senior Research Fellow)

Dr Robert Bell is a Senior Research Fellow at the Hatter Cardiovascular Institute and an Honorary Cardiology Consultant at University College London Hospitals, including the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery.

Cytoprotection and ischaemia/ reperfusion injury are Dr Bell’s key research interests. His current projects are centred on the identification of novel cellular protection pathways and their clinical translation, as well as determining the impact of hyperglycaemia upon myocardial infarction and the cardioprotective properties of sodium/glucose linked transporter (SGLT) inhibitors. From this work, he has developed a clinical interest in the translation of these protective strategies in both the heart and brain. Additionally, Dr Bell has a research interest in red-cell cardiology, including Thalassemia, in which he works closely with Dr Malcolm Walker.

Dr Bell serves as Chairman of the Barts Heart Centre Peer Review and BioResearch boards and is an active member of the European Society of Cardiology Stroke Working Group, British Cardiology Society, British Society for Cardiovascular Research and International Society for Heart Research.

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Dr Sapna Subrayan, PhD (Research Associate)

Dr Subrayan’s research is focused on investigating the potential cardiovascular benefits of established anti-diabetic treatments and identifying the cellular mechanisms that mediate these effects. The identification of these pathways may help develop specific drugs that may be of use in treatment of cardiac pathology not only in diabetic, but also in non-diabetic patients with high risk of cardiovascular disease.

In addition to undertaking experiments, Dr Subrayan works closely with PhD, MD, MSc and BSc students, assisting them in their research work by way of experimental planning, protocol validation, and training in research techniques such as isolated heart perfusion, cell culture and molecular biology techniques.

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Dr Maryna Basalay, PhD (Research Associate)

Cardioprotection has always been at the centre of Dr Basalay’s research.  She was part of the team to first demonstrate the crucial role of parasympathetic innervation and Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) in the mechanisms of Remote Ischaemic Conditioning (RIC) of the heart. Subsequently, they also showed in a rat model that the therapeutic window of RIC applied at reperfusion is longer then it was considered previously. This finding laid the foundation for a clinical trial which is currently being carried out in Belarus. Since 2017 Dr Basalay has extended her research focus to also include neuroprotection, based on the hypothesis, that the mechanism of the ischaemia/reperfusion injury are similar for the heart and brain. Her research group at the Hatter Cardiovascular Institute has initiated a multicentre pre-clinical study on the Remote Ischaemic Conditioning in an acute ischaemic stroke, which is being done in collaboration with the University of Lyon (France), and with participation of Kings College London (UK).

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Dr Catherine Wilder, PhD (Research Associate)

Dr Wilder has a comprehensive knowledge of the field of cardioprotection, with a research focus specifically on the pyroptosis pathway.Through her training and study of arrythmia, she has developed an expertise in the Langendorff perfusion system. Her excellence in research has recently been recognised by the British Pharmalogical Society as recipient of the BJP Early Career Researcher Prize for Design and Analysis Excellence.

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Dr David He, MD (Research Fellow and Lab Manager)

Dr He is an experienced research fellow with expertise in both in vivo and in vitro animal model design and implementation, specific to investigating the protection mechanisms of ischemia-reperfusion injury. Dr He has been investigating a variety of interventions to protect the heart from ischemia-reperfusion injury in mice and rat models since he joined the Hatter Cardiovascular Institute in 2011.

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