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The annual Prize Lecture from The Physiological Society will provide an opportunity to highlight the importance of the Herring lab's work into the nervous system’s critical role in cardiovascular health and disease.

Informal headshot of Neil HerringAssociate Professor Neil Herring has been chosen by The Physiological Society to deliver the Bayliss-Starling Prize Lecture at a forthcoming Society meeting in 2023. Prof Herring, who is also an BHF Senior Fellow and Consultant Cardiologist at the John Radcliffe Hospital, leads a research group in DPAG focusing on local neuromodulators of cardiac autonomic control. As part of the prize lecture, Prof Herring will outline this work into how the autonomic nervous system influences the heart and can trigger or protect it against disease.

The Bayliss-Starling Prize Lecture was established in 1960 as a joint memorial to Bayliss and Starling. It is annually awarded to early career as well as established physiologists in alternate years, with the 2023 Lecture going to DPAG’s established Associate Professor of cardiovascular physiology. Adding to its prestige is an opportunity to be published in The Journal of Physiology, subject to the agreement of the Editorial Board.

William Bayliss and Ernest Starling discovered the first peptide hormone, secretin, in the gut in 1902. The Herring Group has established how many local peptide hormones within the heart also have important roles in cardiovascular disease. These hormones can act as biomarkers to identify patients at risk of developing heart failure or dying, and by understanding how these peptides signal, Herring Lab researchers are also finding targets for new drugs that may help combat cardiovascular disease.

The Herring Lab have published recent findings in the high impact cardiovascular research journals, the European Heart Journal and JAMA Cardiology. Their results identified the release of a neurotransmitter called neuropeptide-Y (NPY) and demonstrated that levels of NPY within the heart are very high following a heart attack and during heart failure. They have shown that NPY can trigger dangerous heart rhythms and worsen heart failure by further restricting the heart’s blood supply.

On receipt of the Prize Lecture, Prof Herring said: “It is a huge honour to have been chosen for this award, which is a reflection of the amazing work of many graduate students and post-doctoral scientists both in our group and that of our collaborators. It is an achievement for all who have been involved. I hope that it raises awareness of how classical physiology is as relevant today as it was 100 years ago when Bayliss and Starling made seminal discoveries in the field. I also hope it also goes to show how traditional physiology can be combined with translational human studies to move concepts forward towards the clinic and improving patient care.”

More information about the Lecture can be found on The Physiological Society website.

More information about Associate Professor Neil Herring can be found on his personal profile page, the Herring Group page, and the DPAG News:

New approach to reducing damage after a heart attack

Biomarker predicts which patients with heart failure have a higher risk of dying

New target identified to help prevent dangerous heart rhythms after heart attack