UCL Institute of Cardiovascular Science


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HRH opens the ICS Phenotyping Unit

HRH plaque

A centre for groundbreaking research into cardiometabolic diseases was officially opened on 15th April at UCL by HRH The Princess Royal.

The royal visit marked the start of an exciting new opportunity to research conditions such as heart disease, vascular disease and metabolic disorders such as diabetes.

The adult cardiovascular phenotyping unit was set up by the UCL Institute of Cardiovascular Science in collaboration with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) University College London Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre.

The centre focuses on ‘phenotyping’ which involves detailed studies of the function of the heart and blood vessels to understand why disease develops and identify ways to treat both rare and common cardiovascular diseases. 

The centre provides researchers with much needed space specifically designed to carry out early stage (phase I or II) research into cardiovascular physiology. With state of the art scanners and imaging researchers will be able to examine structure and function of the heart and blood vessels in a level of detail beyond what would happen in usual clinical practice.

Princess Anne meets study participants

The cardiovascular phenotyping unit is an area dedicated to research, which includes not only infrastructure like a laboratory, but also space for specialist cardiovascular research staff, NIHR biomedical research centre research teams and an academic diabetes research team, research fellows and graduate students.

Dr Peter Lacy, UCL Institute of Cardiovascular Science Senior Research Associate, said: “The Cardiometabolic Phenotyping Unit provides us with new outpatient space dedicated for clinical research, allowing us to extend our capability to undertake complex cardiovascular phenotyping studies.”

He continued: “The unit not only gives us a state-of-the-art clinical facility but also integrates capacity to undertake complex laboratory sample processing together with administrative space, allowing us to collect, process and communicate our data all in the same unit. This new clinical facility provides a unique opportunity to deliver world leading cardiometabolic research in the heart of North Central London.”

Studies using the centre include research into novel ways of evaluating hypertension (high blood pressure) in younger people, funded by the NIHR and MRC; THE SABRE study of ethnicity and diabetes; and AdDIT, the largest study in the world examining young people with Type 1 Diabetes.

Professor Bryan Williams, Director of the NIHR UCL Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) said “This cardiometabolic phenotype unit is an important addition to the world class research infrastructure here at UCL and UCL Hospitals, supported by our NIHR BRC. This is great news for our patients who will benefit from the medical advances that will flow from leading edge medical research at UCL and UCL Hospitals”

HRH met staff members, study participants and key partners and saw demonstrations of the research that takes place in the facility before unveiling a plaque.