Professor Ajay Shah MD FRCP FMedSci
BHF Professor of Cardiology &
Head of Cardiovascular Division
Director, King’s BHF Centre of Research Excellence
Honorary Consultant Cardiologist
King’s College London
The James Black Centre
125 Coldharbour Lane
London SE5 9NU
Executive Assistant - Monica Brennan
Tel: +44 (0)20 7848 5189
Ajay Shah is British Heart Foundation Professor of Cardiology and Director of the Cardiovascular Division at King’s College London and King’s Health Partners AHSC. He is also the Director of the King’s British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence, one of the 2 largest such centres in the UK. He remains an active practising cardiologist with interests in percutaneous coronary intervention, heart failure and pulmonary hypertension.
He is a graduate of the University of Wales College of Medicine (1982) and trained in Cardiology in Cardiff, Wales. He undertook his doctoral and postdoctoral research training in the labs of Andrew Henderson (Wales), Dirk Brutsaert (Belgium) and Edward Lakatta (NIH, Baltimore). He was a BHF Intermediate Fellow and then a UK Medical Research Council Senior Clinical Research Fellow prior to his appointment to the Chair at King’s in 1998.
He is a Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences, the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), the American Heart Association, and the International Society for Heart Research, and past-Chair of the ESC Heart Failure Association Basic Sciences section and the ESC Working Group on Myocardial Function. He led the establishment of the annual Winter Congress on Translational Basic Science of the ESC Heart Failure Association. He is Associate Editor of the American Journal of Physiology (Heart & Circulation) and the European Heart Journal, Consulting Editor for Cardiovascular Research, and serves on the editorial board of several other journals. He is European coordinator of a Fondation Leducq Transatlantic Network of Excellence on Redox and Nitrosative Regulation of Cardiac Remodelling.
Our main research interests are in the pathophysiology of cardiac hypertrophy, LV remodelling and heart failure, and the mechanisms underlying vascular endothelial dysfunction, with a focus on the roles of reactive oxygen species, NADPH oxidases and NO. We are a highly multi-disciplinary grouping and employ a broad range of molecular, cellular, biochemical, physiological and clinical techniques in an integrative approach to address focused questions. The group is based in state-of-the-art laboratory facilities at the James Black Centre on the KCL Denmark Hill campus, immediately adjacent to King’s College Hospital. With respect to translational research and clinical application, the group is well integrated with the clinical cardiac unit at King’s College Hospital and has established access to patients, clinical material and excellent clinical research facilities. Clinical work includes in vivo haemodynamic studies and first-in-man experimental studies. The group provides an outstanding research training environment both for non-clinicians and clinical scientists.
Major areas of current research:
(a) NADPH oxidases in heart failure and vascular dysfunction
We study the roles of different NADPH oxidase (NOX) isoforms and NOX-regulated redox signaling pathways in heart diseases. Our work to date indicates that the two main NOX isoforms expressed in the heart, NOX2 and NOX4, have distinct cell-specific effects in different cardiac pathologies. In the setting of chronic pressure overload, there is marked contrast between the 2 isoforms, with NOX2 having detrimental and NOX4 beneficial effects. The downstream pathways mediating these effects are the focus of much of the current work in the lab. The group has generated several bespoke tools, reagents and models to use in these studies and established many collaborations with labs all over the world.
We are also interested in the roles of NOX isoforms in the vasculature, with particular focus on endothelial dysfunction.
Increased expression of NADPH oxidease subunits in failing human heart (left) compared to non-failing (right)
(b) Molecular imaging of cardiac remodelling
We are studying novel methods for the molecular imaging of cardiac remodelling in experimental pre-clinical models in collaboration with Prof Rene Botnar (King’s).
Confocal image showing colocalisation of the NADPH oxidase subunit gp91phox and tubulin in endothelial cells
(c) Neuronal nitric oxide synthase and human cardiovascular function.
Our recent work has established that the two NO synthase isoforms, eNOS and nNOS, have distinct effects on vascular regulation in healthy humans. We discovered that nNOS regulates basal microvascular tone and responses to mental stress whereas eNOS mediates increases in flow induced by shear stress or certain endothelium-dependent agonists. We are now pursuing further studies to investigate the roles of nNOS in a variety of physiological and pathological settings.
Pressure-volume analysis of human LV function
BHF Specialist Fellow
BHF Clinician Scientist
Dr N Anilkumar
Dr M Hancock
Dr H Mongue-Din
Dr C Santos
Dr I Smyrnias
Dr M Beretta
Dr M Chong
Specialist support staff
Ms L Beltran (Lab manager)
Dr A Protti
Dr G Sawyer (p/t)
Dr X Zhang (p/t)
Dr X Dong
Dr D Martin
Ms Shana de Silva
Ms A Emmerson
Dr A Nabeebaccus (MRC Clinical Training Fellow)
Dr S Khan
Mr D Richards