Professor Metin Avkiran
Professor of Molecular Cardiology
Professor Metin Avkiran joined the British Heart Foundation (BHF) as Associate Medical Director for Research in 2016, on secondment from King’s College London, having served as Deputy Head of the Cardiovascular Division at King’s from its foundation in 2004. He is currently BHF Associate Medical Director for Special Projects.
Professor Avkiran studied Pharmacology at the University of Bath, during which he undertook a year-long industrial placement at GSK working in a team developing antihypertensive drugs. Also from Bath, he was later awarded a PhD in Cardiovascular Pharmacology on the basis of his thesis project on cardiac arrhythmias (1987) and a DSc in recognition of his published work on the pathophysiological roles and therapeutic targeting of the cardiac Na+/H+ exchanger (2002). He is a Fellow of the American Heart Association, the European Society of Cardiology and the International Society for Heart Research (ISHR).
Professor Avkiran has held various research and academic appointments at UMDS and subsequently King's since 1987, including as the holder of BHF Basic Science Lectureship/Senior Lectureship awards. He was appointed as Professor of Molecular Cardiology in 2001. Through his research career at King’s, Professor Avkiran and his team focused on exploring the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate cardiac function in health and disease, particularly ischaemic heart disease and heart failure, including evaluation of the therapeutic potential of pharmacological manipulation of those mechanisms. He received the Pfizer Award in Biology in 2000, the ISHR Keith Reimer Distinguished Lecture Award in 2012 and the ISHR Distinguished Leader Award in 2022. In 2023, Professor Avkiran received the Robert Beamish Leadership Award for promoting cardiovascular science and education from the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, Winnipeg, Canada.
Professor Avkiran has served as Secretary (1996-1998) and Chair (2000-2002) of the British Society for Cardiovascular Research, and as Secretary General (consecutive terms between 2004-2010) and President (2013-2016) of the ISHR. He was also Chair of the Scientific Programme Committees for the XIX ISHR World Congress in 2007 (Bologna, Italy) and the XX ISHR World Congress in 2010 (Kyoto, Japan). In other external roles, he was a member of REF2021 Sub-panel 1 (Clinical Medicine), Research Assessment Panel of the Karolinska Institute (Sweden) and National Institutes of Health (USA) Special Panel on Myocardial Resuscitation. Prior to joining the BHF as Associate Medical Director, he served as a member of the charity’s Project Grants Committee and later Chairs & Programme Grants Committee. Professor Avkiran has served as Associate Editor of the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, Cardiovascular Research and Pharmacology & Therapeutics, and on the editorial boards of other academic journals, including Circulation.