Following a competitive selection process, Dr Richard Tyser is one of seven top UK early-career researchers to be recognised for their cutting-edge work by the British Science Association with a prestigious 2020 Award Lecture. He joins the ranks of notable past Award Lecturers including Professor Brian Cox (winner in 2006), Maggie Aderin-Pocock (2008) and Richard Wiseman (2002).
Representing the University of Oxford, British Heart Foundation Fellow Dr Tyser has won the Charles Darwin Award Lecture for agricultural, biological and medical sciences. As part of DPAG's Srinivas Group, Dr Tyser focuses on understanding the early developmental processes that enable the heart to form and start to function in the embryo. He uses pioneering techniques to achieve this, including live time-lapse imaging of heart development and single-cell transcriptomics. In 2018, he was awarded his BHF Immediate Basic Research Fellowship to study how the first heartbeat is initiated and ultimately further our understanding of congenital heart defects.
Each Award Lecturer has historically delivered a special talk at the British Science Festival. This year's Festival is not taking place due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, all 2020 Award Lecturers will be presenting at the British Science Festival 2021. The event will be hosted by Anglia Ruskin University and held in Chelmsford, Essex from 7-11 September 2021.
With congenital heart defects occurring in 1 out of 150 births, Dr Tyser's talk will demonstrate how understanding the first heartbeat can have enormous implications for the treatment of heart conditions.
Interviewed in advance of the Festival, Dr Tyser reveals when and how the heart first starts to beat, what cell types are involved and how he gas managed to establish all this information so far. "Finding the first heartbeat" is available to read in the British Science Association Blog.