Cells looked at through a microscope

The Cardiovascular research area has a wide range of research interests covering many aspects of health and disease. Our current specialisms include diabetes, platelet biology and thrombosis, inflammation, drug discovery, and metabolism.

Dr Joe Bird has a primary research interest in the development of vascular lesions, in particular, inflammatory processes and ectopic mineralisation. Joe is concerned with both the physiological processes involved and the signalling pathways which direct them. His wider interests are in skeletal tissue pathologies and the impact of ageing processes such as replicative senescence on the development of these vascular and skeletal lesions.

Dr Nicholas Pugh focuses his research interests on the signalling mechanisms used by platelets during pathophysiological thrombus formation. Nick is particularly interested in the role of ion channels and transporters in platelet function and studying platelet behaviour in models of thrombus formation in flowing blood. He also has an interest in lipotoxicity and in the development of novel reagents to study platelet function.

Dr Havovi Chichger researches cellular mechanisms which regulate the endothelium in human disease and the impact of diabetes on renal and small intestinal glucose transport across the epithelium. This includes both transport processes and intracellular signalling pathways. Additionally, she has an interest in the gut microbiota and gastric permeability.

Dr Grisha Pirianov is focused on translational medicine, which includes discovering novel drugs and therapeutic targets for pharmacological intervention of inflammatory based diseases such as atherosclerosis. His primary research area is on the innate immune system and the mechanisms by which pattern recognition receptors within this system are mal-regulated in inflammatory pathologies. Additionally, Grisha has interest in the anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties of natural plant extracts.

Dr Clett Erridge focuses his research on mechanisms connecting inflammation to lipid metabolism, particularly in the context of coronary artery disease and other inflammatory conditions associated with the liver. His interests encompass the impact that the gut microbiota can have on the immune system and in drug discovery technologies. Clett is also using natural product library screening approaches to discover novel compounds with potential to reverse antibiotic resistance in clinically relevant bacteria.

Dr Linda King is focused on the metabolic changes associated with ischaemic heart disease and diabetes. In particular, she is interested in the impact of lipotoxicity on glucose metabolism and the resultant changes in cellular response to insulin signalling. Linda is also concerned with the regulation of G-protein couple receptors and melanocortin 1 receptor signalling.

The Cardiovascular research area is part of the Biomedical Research Group.

We offer our Biomedical Science PhD, and a range of innovative research project opportunities for postgraduate researchers.


Find out more about our members by exploring their staff profiles.


Dr Nick Pugh attended the European Platelet Network (EUPLAN) conference in 2016, which provided an amazing opportunity for our University's Biomedical Research Group to present data and promote our research in the platelet field.

Dr Nick Pugh presented his work on platelet function at the Faculty Research conference in 2016.

Members of the group have received funding from the British Heart Foundation, the Royal Society and the Wellcome Trust.

Key publications

Harrington, E.O., Vang, A., Braza, J., Shil, A. and Chichger, H., 2018. Activation of the sweet taste receptor, T1R3, by the artificial sweetener sucralose regulates the pulmonary endothelium. American journal of physiology. Lung cellular and molecular physiology, 1(314), pp.165-176.

Taylor K.A., Wilson D.G.S., Harper M.T., and Pugh N., 2018. Extracellular chloride is required for efficient platelet aggregation. Platelets, 29(1), pp.79-83.

Huggins C., Pearce S., Peri F., Neumann F., Cockerill G., and Pirianov G., 2015. A novel small molecule TLR4 antagonist (IAXO-102) negatively regulates non-hematopoietic toll like receptor 4 signalling and inhibits aortic aneurysms development. Atherosclerosis, 242(2), pp.563-70.

Herbert K.E., and Erridge C., 2018. Regulation of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol by intestinal inflammation and the acute phase response. Cardiovascular Research. 1;114(2), pp.226-232.