Our network is a multidisciplinary team of scientists and clinicians. 

We work together to understand and tackle cardiovascular and metabolic disease, including heart disease, diabetes, stroke and vascular dementia.

We benefit from expertise across the Norwich Medical School and Faculty of Science at the University of East Anglia and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. 

Our mission is to understand how and why cardiovascular and metabolic diseases occur, develop new therapies and diagnostics for the treatment of disease and improve clinical practice.

We achieve this through collaboration with industry and healthcare networks. Major funders of research within the network include UKRI, British Heart Foundation and the Wellcome Trust.

"This forum will enable the collaborative environment needed to help develop ideas and therapies, so we can actually translate these for the benefit of patients and their families."

Dr Amer Rana

2022/23 Seminar Series

PIEZO1 channels in physical exercise and cardiovascular health and disease

20 October 2022, 2pm-3pm, UEA Julian Study Centre, Room 0.01

Professor David BeechSpeaker: Professor David Beech, University of Leeds

After a BSc at Manchester and PhD at St George’s London I did postdoctoral research at the University of Washington, Seattle, before returning to London as a Wellcome Career Development Fellow and then establishing a research group at Leeds.

My interest is cellular calcium homeostasis and particularly the idea that mechanisms of calcium entry extend beyond voltage-gated calcium channels to other calcium-permeable channels, mediating responses to important chemical and mechanical stimuli and presenting opportunities for new therapeutics. We contributed key evidence for roles of TRPC1/4/5, ORAI1 and PIEZO1 channels in cardiovascular and metabolic health and disease.

Our discovery that PIEZO1 channels detect shear stress, thereby linking blood flow to endothelial cell function, was seminal and helped to justify PIEZOs as a topic of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2021. Our identification of natural and synthetic small-molecule modulators of these channels led to the CalTIC spinout company with partners in Leeds, Dortmund and Heidelberg in 2022.

I am an elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and serve as the Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Champion of the Academy.

Host: Professor Sam Fountain, UEA BIO

Exploring mechanisms of cardiovascular disease and repair using human pluripotent stem cell technologies

16 March 2023, 2pm-3pm, UEA Julian Study Centre, Room 0.01

Speaker: Professor Chris Denning, Director of the UoN Biosdiscovery Institute and the BHF Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Nottingham

Chris Denning is a Professor in Stem Cell Biology. He leads the University's Priority Area in Translational Biodiscovery. From 2018, he became Director of the Biodiscovery Institute (BDI), which is a £100M cluster of buildings that house nearly 1000 researchers, clinicians and support staff to comprise the largest research facility at the University of Nottingham. The highly interdisciplinary activities of the BDI range from regenerative medicine and cancer, through to drug discovery, antimicrobials and industrial biotechnology.

Chris’ lab's interests are in cardiomyocyte (heart cell) differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs: human embryonic stem cells [hESCs] and human induced pluripotent stem cells [hiPSCs]) for use in drug screening and in production of new in vitro models of genetic-based cardiovascular disease.

Host: Dr James Smith, UEA MED

Hear from some of our researchers

Professor Samuel Fountain, School of Biological Sciences

Sam’s research, supported by the British Heart Foundation, BBSRC and several industrial partners, focuses on understanding how the nervous system controls vascular and adipose tissue with an emphasis on a family of neurotransmitter receptors.

Professor Andrea Munsterberg, School of Biological Sciences

Andrea is a research scientist addressing fundamental questions of how the heart develops in early vertebrate embryos.

Dr James Smith, Lecturer, Norwich Medical School

The group James works in use stem cells to grow new human heart cells that can be used to study cardiovascular and metabolic disease.

Professor Helen Murphy, Norwich Medical School

Helen’s interest is in early-onset T2D (T2D before 39 years of age) which is associated with hypertension, hyperlipidemia and a severe cardio-metabolic phenotype.

Dr Stephen Robinson, Research Leader, Quadram Institute

The group Stephen works with hope to guide the use and design of microbiota based therapies in order to maintain life-long vascular health.

Dr Amer Rana, School of Biological Science

Amer has had more than 25 years of clinical and lab-based research experience. His goal over the past 12 years has been to translate stem cell and developmental biology into medical therapies.