Where do you work?

The International Centre for Circulatory Health, a research department based at London's Hammersmith and St Mary's Hospitals, and Imperial College London

What kind of work do you do?

I am training as a heart specialist (cardiologist) and am also studying for a PhD funded by the BHF.  My research looks at a new type of pacemaker called a biventricular pacemaker.  This helps people with heart failure, a condition where the heart's ability to pump blood around the body is impaired.  For the last 50 years or so we have usually been using pacemakers for people with a slow heart rhythm, but over the last decade or so we have discovered that if we add an extra wire to stimulate the left side of the heart with this new biventricular pacemaker, certain groups of patients with heart failure will live longer, and feel less short of breath.   My PhD is trying to understand how these pacemakers deliver this benefit.

How does the BHF fund your work?

The BHF have funded some of my Clinical Research training, they fund some of the specialised equipment we use and they help us cover the cost of transport for our patient volunteers, some of whom are quite frail and travel from long distances The BHF fund a   range of medical research from scientists doing tests in laboratories to studies on populations at large.

Why did you get involved in the work?

I have always been keen to see how we can improve the way we look after our patients. I was very keen to become involved in some research where I could add value with my skills as a doctor by working on a project where I could interact with individual patients.  This was facilitated with a special scheme from the BHF which encourages doctors to become involved in medical research: the Clinical Research Training Fellowship.

What does a typical working day look like?

The nature of the research project means the days can be very variable.  Usually in the morning I have a research volunteer come to our department for measurements.  I take measurements of their blood pressure while making small adjustments to the settings of their pacemaker which is done by placing a special programmer just by the shoulder near where the pacemaker battery has been implanted.  In the afternoon I would usually analyse the data, find more recruits for our study, and review other research in the field.

How do you look after your own heart?

It can often be challenging to make the lifestyle changes to look after your heart, and exercise is probably the toughest.  I was lucky enough to discover my fantastic local running club, the Ealing Eagles.  The motivation of having a group to run with allowed me to keep running regularly even when life gets in the way and I'm now entering races and running distances I would have never dreamt of.  I am really looking forward to doing the BHF Greenwich Royal Park run this summer.  BHF races have a fun and informal atmosphere.  It will be a fantastic chance to see the many people who put the hard work in to raise money for the BHF, and also see if I can get a personal best over 10K!

Feel inspired to take part in a BHF London Run? Go to bhf.org.uk/londonruns for more information and to sign up.