27 Jan 2017 £2.3 Million BHF Cymru research programme hosted by Swansea University Medical School from this month


A British Heart Foundation Cymru funded research team led by world-renowned BHF Professor Alan Williams will be based at Swansea University Medical School from this month.

Ranked 1st in the UK for Research Environment in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF), Swansea University Medical School will offer the opportunity for Professor Williams and his team to continue their unprecedented research in Wales with £2.3million of investment from BHF, after 10 successful years at Cardiff University.

BHF Professor Williams and his team study irregular heart rhythms, or arrhythmias that can be inherited, are associated with heart failure, and can be fatal. The cause of some abnormal heart rhythms remains a mystery and current medicines are not effective for all of these conditions.

The most common abnormal heart rhythm is atrial fibrillation. More than 65,000 people in Wales experience atrial fibrillation and they are among the top ten reasons why patients go to hospital.

Many people in Wales are living with undiagnosed arrhythmias that come from an inherited heart condition that hasn’t been identified. Patients with arrhythmia may be at increased risk of stroke and certain types of arrhythmia can cause sudden cardiac death.

BHF funding enables the research team, now based at Swansea University Medical School, to carry out detailed investigations underpinning the molecular defects that can cause the heart’s rhythm to fall out of sync. With this knowledge, they can predict which medicines are likely to work best against these faults which will enable effective and personalised treatments for frightening and dangerous arrhythmias.

BHF Professor Alan Williams said: “Being based at Swansea University will provide opportunity for excellent multi-disciplinary collaboration and enable us to secure input from researchers in physical sciences, computational scientists, mathematicians and engineers to help us build the bigger picture in our understanding of irregular heart rhythms whilst studying the origins of these conditions. We look forward to collaborating closely with colleagues at Swansea Medical School and the wider University faculty”.

Professor Keith Lloyd, Dean and Head of Swansea University Medical School said: “”I am very grateful to the BHF for their confidence in Swansea University Medical School as a home for BHF research in Wales.  We share the BHF's mission to win the fight against heart disease and we will help translate the team's research into benefit for the people of Wales and beyond."

Ruth Coombs, Head of BHF Cymru said: “We’re hugely proud of all the research we’re funding in Wales – it’s only possible because of the amazing generosity and devotion shown by our supporters and volunteers. We look forward to continuing to work with Alan and his team and to building closer relationships with Swansea University in our fight for every heartbeat. By investing in research in Wales today, we’re making tomorrow’s tests and treatments for heart conditions possible.”

Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said:  “As a country with a high prevalence of cardiovascular disease, BHF Cymru is committed to supporting excellent cardiovascular research in Wales.

With the pioneering work of BHF Professor Alan Williams and his team now based at Swansea, we will now have significant research investment at both Cardiff and Swansea Universities. We hope that the progress of this research, and the science we fund at both of these world-leading Universities, will improve and save lives across Wales and have an impact beyond.

With the generous support we receive from the people of Wales for our mission, the BHF looks forward to continue to support world class cardiovascular research programmes and high calibre researchers in Welsh universities for years to come.”

Find out how BHF-funded research is beating heart disease at bhf.org.uk/research



To request interviews or for more information please call Rebecca Morgan on 07823 353998 or atmorganr@bhf.org.uk. Our out of hours email is newsdesk@bhf.org.uk.


Notes to editors


About British Heart Foundation Cymru (BHF Cymru)

For over 50 years we’ve pioneered research that’s transformed the lives of people living with heart and circulatory conditions. Our work has been central to the discoveries of vital treatments that are changing the fight against heart disease. But so many people still need our help. From babies born with life-threatening heart problems to the many mums, dads and grandparents who survive a heart attack and endure the daily battles of heart failure. Join our fight for every heartbeat in Wales. Every pound raised, minute of your time and donation to our shops will help make a difference to people’s lives. BHF Cymru is currently investing

£7m in ground-breaking cardiovascular disease research in Wales in Cardiff and Swansea University.


Swansea University is a world-class, research-led, dual campus university.  The University was established in 1920 and was the first campus university in the UK.  It currently offers around 350 undergraduate courses and 350 postgraduate courses to  circa 20,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students. 

The University’s 46-acre Singleton Park Campus is located in beautiful parkland with views across Swansea Bay.  The University’s 65-acre science and innovation Bay Campus, which opened in September 2015, is located a few miles away on the eastern approach to the city. It has the distinction of having direct access to a beach and its own seafront promenade.  Both campuses are close to the Gower Peninsula, the UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Swansea is ranked the top university in Wales and is currently The Times and The Sunday Times ‘Welsh University of the Year’. It is also ranked within the top 350 best universities in the world in the Times Higher Education World University rankings.

The results of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 showed the University has achieved its ambition to be a top 30 research University, soaring up the league table to 26th in the UK, with the ‘biggest leap among research-intensive institutions’ (Times Higher Education, December 2014) in the UK.

The University has ambitious expansion plans as it moves towards its centenary in 2020, as it continues to extend its global reach and realising its domestic and international ambitions.

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