Barts and The London NIHR Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit

What is the CVBRU?

The NIHR Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit (CVBRU) is a virtual unit, which pulls together staff and projects across basic science at WHRI, cardiology at London Chest Hospital and Electrophysiology at St Bartholemew's Hospital.


Barts and The London NIHR Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit - changing the way we do research.

Centre for Advanced Cardiovascular Imaging

Advanced Cardiovascular Imaging – the unique translational environment at Barts and The London

The major focus of our successful NIHR Cardiovascular BRU proposal was the creation of an advanced CV imaging centre (high cadre imaging team, training posts and imaging hardware).

With this NIHR support we have made a step change in translational CV research by adding deeper cardiovascular phenotyping of patients across our translational programmes of novel therapies derived from the William Harvey Research Institute.

To achieve this we benefit from using our dedicated 1.5 Tesla cardiac MRI scanner and from  access to a state of the art 3 Tesla scanner.

State of the art cardiac CT scanner funded by the NIHR allowing fast and patient friendly imaging of the heart and coronary arteries.

In October 2009, we performed the first non-invasive coronary angiogram on the NIHR funded state of the art and first of its kind in the UK cardiac CT scanner (dual source, dual energy).

An additional NIHR Capital grant supported the setting up of a cutting edge cardiovascular imaging core lab, that allows quantification of (almost) all vascular and cardiac measurements required in our research studies.

Our new advanced cardiovascular imaging centre is also an excellent educational facility for our clinical Cardiology and Radiology Registrars training in non-invasive cardiac imaging and our clinical research fellows.

We also train international Cardiology and Radiology Consultants interested in setting up a clinical CMR stress imaging service. We host two intensive courses annually with hands-on experience in image acquisition and image analysis and interpretation. 

We work closely with our clinical colleagues and have one of the busiest cardiac CT (1200 scans per year) and cardiac MR units (currently 2500 scans per year) in Europe. 

3D cardiac CT view of the heart and the coronary arteries acquired with our new NIHR funded state of the art CT scanner.

We have much fruitful collaboration with industry and academically within our University, nationally and internationally.

Although our centre has only been officially opened by Dame Sally Davies in May 2010 we have already won grants from the British Heart Foundation, Wellcome Trust, Barts and The London Charity, European Union, NIHR and industry support in excess of £1.3m.

More about the NIHR CVBRU

Public engagement initiated and led by our CVBRU

Let’s talk hearts

Let’s talk hearts is a new series of talks generously supported by Barts and The London Charity which is open to all, providing a forum to learn about heart conditions, how (and why) you keep your heart healthy and the latest research.

Barts and The London Charity generously funded Let's talk hearts for the first two years, now the talks continue thanks to the support of the CVBRU.

The first seminar on “keeping fit keeps your heart fit” was held in March 2011 in the Idea Store, Whitechapel library, with over 70 people who engaged in a lively discussion.

Further seminars will cover topics such as heart failure, heart muscle disease and stem cell therapy in heart disease.

Barts and Queen Mary Science Festival

Launched as the Barts and The London Science Festival in 2011, this annual event at Charterhouse Square and was generously supported by our NIHR CVBRU and the Wellcome Trust.

The festival is aimed at anyone interested in science from teenagers to adults (and big kids!) of any age, with a specific focus on secondary school students. 

The 2011 festival featured a science market, a science competition, acting, lecturettes (short talks on interesting science topics) and much more.

Watch a video of what happened at the Science Festival 2011

Renamed Barts and Queen Mary Science Festival in 2012, the second event featured an exciting demonstration by the Red Cross, who will return in 2013.

This year the festival is being held at Queen Mary University of London’s Mile End campus.

Register online

More about cardiovascular disease

For more about this condition and advice on prevention visit the NHS website.