Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Photo courtesy of the British Heart Foundation

Professor Paul Riley delivered a key presentation about his team's research at the British Heart Foundation's new Pledger Research Event, held at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford on Tuesday 26 February 2019.

The 32 people in attendance included supporters who have pledged to leave a gift in their Will to the BHF, and their guests, who may not have left a gift or be connected to the BHF.

The purpose of the event was to highlight how important their gifts are to the BHF, to thank the audience for helping to support continued scientific research into tackling heart disease, and involve supporters more closely in their work.

This event marks the first time the BHF has held a Q&A session with their supporters, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with 99.6% of recorded responses classed as good or excellent.

Paul Riley's talk outlined some key facts about his research. During a heart attack, you can lose up to 1 billion heart muscle cells, which cannot be replaced. Instead the heart is patched-up by a non-functional scar, which over time can lead to heart failure, for which there is currently no cure.

Paul's team is looking at regenerative models from zebrafish to neonatal mice to understand how these models can repair their own heart and restore lost muscle and blood vessels after injury. Their focus is on the outer layer of cells in the heart, the epicardium, which if removed blocks regeneration in zebrafish, but if stimulated results in improved outcome after a heart attack in mice. 

The ultimate goal is to find a drug that can stimulate epicardial cells in the human heart, in order to regenerate lost cardiovascular tissue after heart attack. 

Heart regeneration after a heart attack is a 'holy grail'. By building on our previous work in animal models, to stimulate heart regeneration-from-within, and extending to drug discovery in human patients, we hope to turn this into a reality to treat a major cause of heart failure. - Professor Riley

Paul's presentation was very well received, with one guest commenting that it was very clear, interesting, and pitched at the right level for the audience.

He was joined on the day by Greg Jones, BHF Media Manager in the Research Engagement team, June Davidson, BHF Senior Cardiac Nurse, and his talk was followed by a case study presentation, who shared her personal story about her experience with a heart condition. 

Professor Riley commented that "it was an excellent event, very well organised with an enthusiastic and very well informed audience - an important outreach to encourage public support for BHF funded research."

Similar stories

Kaitlyn Dennis to receive the William C Stanley Early Investigator Award

Congratulations are in order for DPhil student Kaitlyn Dennis, who has been awarded the William C Stanley Early Investigator Award. The award highlights the scientific accomplishments of promising young researchers and is a major focus of the Annual Meeting of the Society for Heart and Vascular Metabolism.

Rita Alonaizan introduces sixth form students to basic science with In2ScienceUK

Postdoctoral Research Scientist Dr Rita Alonaizan hosted two students via the In2ScienceUK programme, and provided a hands-on work experience in Associate Professor Mathilda Mommersteeg’s Lab from Monday 1 – Friday 5 August during the school summer holidays.

DPAG hosts successful first Science in the Park event

More than 100 children, along with around 50 parents, grandparents and caregivers enjoyed an exciting variety of activities on the theme of ‘How the Body Works’ in University Parks on Tuesday 26 July. This ‘Science in the Park’ event was run by DPAG’s Outreach and Public Engagement Working Group (OPEWG) and volunteers comprising research scientists, clinical anatomy teaching staff, and graduate and undergraduate students.

IDRM officially opens in Oxford

A celebration for the opening of the Institute of Developmental & Regenerative Medicine (IDRM) led by Paul Riley took place on Tuesday 12 July 2022, attended by many DPAG members who have recently relocated to this fantastic new Institute.

DPhil student wins senior College scholarship for research excellence

Congratulations are in order for Judy Sayers, DPhil student in the Riley Group, who has been awarded the University College senior G A Paul Scholarship for research excellence.