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Professor Avkiran obtained his BSc Hons in Pharmacology (1983) and PhD in Cardiovascular Pharmacology (1987) from the University of Bath. In 2002, he was awarded a DSc by the same University, in recognition of his published research on the cardiac Na+/H+ exchanger.

Professor Avkiran has held various research and academic appointments at UMDS and subsequently King's College London since 1987, including a 10-year Basic Science Lectureship/Senior Lectureship Award from the British Heart Foundation (BHF). He was appointed as Professor of Molecular Cardiology at King's College London in 2001 and served as Deputy Head of the Cardiovascular Division from 2004 to 2016.  In 2016, Professor Avkiran was appointed as Associate Medical Director for Research at the BHF, on secondment from King’s College London.

Professor Avkiran currently serves on the Executive Committee of the International Society for Heart Research (ISHR) as Past-President, having served the ISHR as President (2013-2016), President Elect (2010-2013) and Secretary General (two consecutive terms; 2004-2007, 2007-2010). He has also served as the Secretary (1996-1998) and Chairman (2000-2002) of the British Society for Cardiovascular Research (BSCR), as a member of the ISHR European Section Council (1995-2001) and the ISHR World Council (2001-2004), and as the Chairman of the Myocardial Biology Panel of the British Cardiac Society (BCS). In 2000, he was the recipient of the prestigious Pfizer Award in Biology (in recognition of his work on the cardiac Na+/H+ exchanger) and an invited member of the National Institutes of Health (USA) Panel on Myocardial Resuscitation.  More recently, he received the 2012 Keith Reimer Distinguished Lecture Award of the ISHR.

He currently serves on the Editorial Board of Cardiovascular Research. He has previously served as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology (2011-2017), Cardiovascular Research (1991-1995) and Pharmacology & Therapeutics (2001-2005), a Reviewing Editor of the Journal of Physiology (2011-12) and on the Editorial Boards of Circulation (2000-2004), Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology (1999-2011), Basic Research in Cardiology (2005-2015), Dialogues in Cardiovascular Medicine (2006-2015) and the British Journal of Pharmacology (2002-2005). Professor Avkiran was Chairman of the Scientific Programme Committees of the XIX ISHR World Congress in 2007 (Bologna, Italy) and the XX ISHR World Congress in 2010 (Kyoto, Japan).