UCL Institute of Cardiovascular Science


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Students on lawn

ICS bids farewell to Professors Philippa Talmud and Steve Humphries

Steve Humphries and Philippa Talmud

The Centre for Cardiovascular Genetics (CVG) at UCL headed by BHF Professor Steve Humphries, started life in the Department of Medicine in 1991. Steve moved, together with Philippa Talmud and their group, from the Sunley Research Centre, Charing Cross Hospital to UCL. Now 24 years later Steve and Philippa are retiring. Their contribution to cardiovascular genetics was celebrated on 12th June, 2015 by an afternoon of lectures, chaired by Dr Mary Seed, covering different aspects of their careers. Steve’s early days at the Beatson Institute, Glasgow and St Mary’s Hospital was related by Dr Anna Kessling. Philippa came from South Africa to UCL to do a PhD, followed by 2 postdocs, and together with her time at CVG has spent almost 33 years at UCL.

Steve and Philippa’s contribution to the European cardiovascular community was told by Prof Ulrike Beisiegel, President of Gottingen University. They served on the committees of the European Atherosclerosis Society (EAS) and the British Atherosclerosis Society and together with Ulrike set up the enormously successful EAS Atherosclerosis Summer School in Hamburg. Steve has been editor in chief of the journal Atherosclerosis, the official journal of the EAS for over 10 years.

Their influence on cardiovascular genetics was outlined by their long time collaborators Prof Anders Hamsten, Provost, Karolinska Institut, and Prof Gunilla Olivecrona, Umea University (pictured left). Prof Andrew Neil, Oxford University, recounted how Steve’s persuasive talents had helped push forward the translational aspects of his work into Familial Hypercholesterolaemia. Prof Peter Weissberg, the Medical Director of the BHF paid tribute to Steve as currently the longest standing BHF Professor, with some amusing footage of a TV interview of Steve. Prof Aroon Hingorani, director of ICS told of their contribution of to the gene-centric chip collaborative studies at UCL. Finally showing how much Steve and Philippa have paved the way for the next generation of cardiovascular scientists, Dr Michael Holmes, Oxford University, Dr Marta Futema and Dr Andrew Smith, both from CVG UCL, presented their exciting work taking cardiovascular genetics forward.

The afternoon of excellent talks was rounded up by a reception in the Rayne Building which provided the perfect environment for the reunion of past CVG members, collaborators, friends and family.

Steve and Philippa will retire on 30th September, 2015, but both will then become Emeritus Professors at UCL and will continue different aspects of their interests, Steve by a focus on Familial Hypercholesterolaemia and Philippa in mentoring and supporting Women in Science.

Dr Pier Lambiase (Reader in Cardiology and a Consultant Electrophysiologist in the UCL Institute of Cardiovascular Science) has been chosen as the winner of the 2015 Michael Davies Early Career Award. This highly prestigious prize, awarded at its Annual Conference by the British Cardiovascular Society, recognises Dr Lambiase’s outstanding contribution to cardiovascular medicine. Over the past nine years at UCL, his research has focused on determining the mechanisms of sudden cardiac death and the development of new strategies to identify & treat patients at risk.


The Award acknowledges clinical and non-clinical researchers who have recently established themselves as independent investigators, conducting ground-breaking research. Professor Hingorani commented “…this is superb news and a really major achievement for Pier and the Institute. I am especially pleased with Dr Lambiase’s success in gaining this award, as I understand he was up against some very stiff competition”.  

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