Our Oversight Board

About Us > Oversight Board

Keogh, Sir Bruce - Headshot

Professor Sir Bruce Keogh (Chair)​

“This new initiative is a boost in the arm for clinical cardiovascular research in the UK. We are offering an infrastructure firstly to help the clinical community identify the most important, relevant research questions and to address those issues by supporting the planning and delivery of well designed, world-class research across the NHS.”

Sir Bruce is currently chair of the Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS FT,  a position he has held since 2018. Following a career as a cardiac surgeon in London and Birmingham, including periods as a BHF Junior Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer and professor at University College London, Sir Bruce was appointed Director General in the Department of Health and Medical Director of the NHS in 2007, a role which migrated to the board of a new independent NHS Commissioning Board (NHS England) in 2013. As the National Medical director 2007-2018, he was responsible for overall clinical policy and strategy, innovation and clinical leadership in the NHS. This included medical and dental care, diagnostics and pharmacy. Prior to this, he served as a Commissioner on the boards of the healthcare regulators the Commission for Health Improvement and the Healthcare Commission from 2002 to 2007. He has served as President of the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery in Great Britain and Ireland, Secretary General of the European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, President of the Cardiothoracic Section of the Royal Society of Medicine and the board of directors of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons in the United States and the Council of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. He was knighted for services to medicine in 2003 and listed by the Sunday Times in 2014 as one of Britain’s 100 most influential people.  

Professor Sir Nilesh Samani​

“The BHF is committed to a research strategy that improves and saves the lives of those with heart and circulatory diseases. To do that we need to make the most of the great healthcare and research landscape that we have in the UK, support the very best collaborations across disciplines and ensure clinical research is undertaken in an environment where it can develop and thrive.  The Collaborative will help to draw out key issues for the clinical cardiovascular community, pick out the big questions and, we hope, align those with the best expertise to answer them.”

Nilesh joined the British Heart Foundation as Medical Director in 2016. He is a former BHF Professor of Cardiology and Head of the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences at the University of Leicester. He is a Consultant Cardiologist at the Cardiac Centre, Glenfield Hospital, Leicester where he continues to undertake clinical work. 

Nilesh is a Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences and an emeritus NIHR Senior Investigator and holds fellowships of the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association and the European Society of Cardiology.  

His research interests are focused around understanding the inherited basis of cardiovascular diseases. He has co-led discoveries in genetics and made major contributions to our understanding of the relationship between biological ageing and the development of cardiovascular diseases. He has published over 500 research papers and is one of the most highly cited researchers in the world.  
For his services to the community, Nilesh was made a Deputy Lieutenant of Leicestershire in 2009. In the 2015 New Year’s honours list, he was awarded a knighthood for his contribution to medicine and medical research. 

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Professor Huon Gray

“The UK is fortunate to have many talented individuals and organisations undertaking cardiovascular research, but often their work is undertaken in silos and sometimes with overlapping objectives. The BHF CRC aims to support collaborative research and I’m delighted to join others on the Oversight Board in providing strategic oversight of this worthwhile initiative."

Huon Gray was appointed consultant adult and interventional cardiologist to Southampton University Hospital in 1989He was President of the British Cardiac Society (2003-5)receiving its Mackenzie Medal in 2014, and co-chaired the Dept. of Health’s National Infarct Angioplasty Project (2006-8), which led to the subsequent national roll out of primary PCI for ST elevation myocardial infarctionHe was also clinical adviser and then chair of two NICE guidelines on acute coronary syndromes (2007-13). He is honorary professor at Queen Mary’s University, London and has published widely on various aspects of cardiology and health service delivery.  

Huon has served in various capacities within the American College of Cardiology (ACC); as chair of its International Council (2008-13), on its Board of Trustees (2012-16), and currently chair of its Governance Committee (2019-22). He received the ACC’s Presidential Citation in 2013, and designation as Master of the ACC in 2018. 

He was Deputy and then Interim National Clinical Director for Heart Disease at the Department of Health (2007-12), co-producing its CVD Outcomes Strategy (2013), and was then  National Clinical Director for Heart Disease in NHS England between 2013-19. He was made Commander of the Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list 2019. 

Professor David Crossman

“The BHF CRC has the enormous potential of bring research together from the wide range of professional groups and bodies in cardiovascular medicine in the UK with the support of the BHF. Cardiovascular research is world-leading in the UK and has a long and impressive history. The BHF CRC will allow this reputation to be maintained and grow. Cardiovascular disease still removes too many years of life, and often productive and important years, from individual members of the population of the UK. The BHF CRC will be part of the way we can collectively challenge the impact of cardiovascular disease and is an initiative that I am pleased to help and be part of.”

Professor David Crossman is Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Head of the School of Medicine at the University of St Andrews. He moved to Scotland over six years ago having run the medical school at the University of East Anglia. Prior to that he was Professor of Clinical Cardiology at the University of Sheffield, a post that he took up in 1994.

He has practiced as a regional centre cardiologist with an interest in interventional cardiology and heart disease in pregnancy. He continues to hold an honorary consultant cardiologist at NHS Fife where he has weekly clinical commitments in general outpatients. His research interest is in the inflammatory basis of coronary artery disease and clinical trials.

In 2017 he was appointed Chief Scientist for Health to Scottish Government, a seconded post for two days per week. He advises on health matters and clinical research funded by the Scottish Government through the Chief Scientists Office.

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Mr Kelvin Pitman

“Having spent three years on the BHF Clinical Studies Committee, I was often struck by the degree of overlap between applications for funding. It became clear to me that if excellent talent and limited resources were not to be wasted, some mechanism to help cardiovascular researchers avoid undue overlap would be very worthwhile. Hence on behalf of all potential beneficiary I was delighted to be invited to bring a patient’s perspective to the BHF CRC Oversight Board”

Born in 1950, Kelvin grew up in South West London, is married to a retired primary school teacher and has two daughters. He has a BSc in Chemical and Polymer Technology and worked most of his life in large international packaging companies, retiring in 2011. 

Having suffered a heart attack 13 years ago, Kelvin had a stent fitted and recovered well but was left with some heart failure. AF has become problematic leading to several rounds of external cardioversion. 4 year ago a CRT-D device was fitted followed by unsuccessful internal cardioversion. 

He enjoys skiing, cycling, walking, DIY and maintaining a 1975 MGB roadster. One daughter, married to an airline pilot living in Dubai with 3 young grandchildren keep Kelvin busy with regular visits both waysHis other daughter is an early years lecturer at a famous nanny training college. 

His career started within R&D working with customers, often using statistics on test data to ensure the company’s products met customers’ specifications. Kelvin subsequently moved into marketing using consumer research to understand consumers’ softer needs. 

He worked 15 years in Switzerland becoming Technical Director of a company. Then an R&D Director managing four development groups across the USA, UK and Switzerland. 

Another significant part of Kelvins career is associated with intellectual property, such as patents, license agreements, and technical transfer. Latterly, he was heavily involved in Open Innovation whereby companies in different fields cooperate to use similar technology for different purposes. 

Kelvin serves as a patient on a BHF/CRUK data advisory panel, recently retired from the BHF Clinical Studies Committee and just joined a MRC CTU at UCL focusing on Covid-19. 

Professor John Greenwood

“I am delighted that the BCS are hosting such an important initiative. The BHF CRC will offer practical support for sharing project ideas, research planning and supporting clinicians who want to engage in research, providing a much needed step change for cardiovascular clinical research in the UK”

John Greenwood is a Professor of Cardiology in the Leeds Institute for Cardiovascular and Diabetes Research (LICAMM) and Consultant Cardiologist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, where he specialises in coronary intervention and cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging.

He qualified in medicine from Leeds in 1991 and after general medical training in Yorkshire undertook a clinical PhD in Leeds, funded by the British Heart Foundation. His main area of research is the diagnosis and treatment of stable and unstable coronary artery disease. In terms of diagnostics, this particularly involves the use of CMR in terms of its development and validation through clinical trials. He was Chief Investigator on the landmark CE-MARC trial (Lancet 2012) and the CE-MARC 2 trial (JAMA 2016). In terms of therapeutics, he is collaborating on a number of major multi-centre clinical trials designed to improve outcomes in patients undergoing primary PCI for acute ST elevation myocardial infarction.

He is President of the British Cardiovascular Society (BCS) (2021-2024) having been Vice President for Research & Education (2017-2020). He was elected to the Board of BSCMR (British Society of Cardiovascular MR) in 2009, and is the immediate-past President of the Society (2018-2020). He is past-Chair of the SCMR Clinical Trials Committee and was the SCMR representative on the writing group of the 2021 AHA/ACC/ASE/ASNC/CHEST/SAEM/SCCT/SCMR Guideline for the Evaluation and Diagnosis of Chest Pain.

For 10 years Prof. Greenwood led the supra-regional CMR service in Leeds, one of the UKs largest, and as an interventional cardiologist actively contributes to the coronary intervention service for West Yorkshire, including the regional primary PCI service. He is Director of the Cardiovascular Clinical Research Facility at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

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Doctor Tony Soteriou

“I am delighted to be involved with the oversight Board for the BHF CRC, and the aim to promote excellence in UK cardiovascular clinical research. Like many of us I have had first hand experience of the impact cardiovascular disease on family and friends, and am passionate about the role clinical research plays in saving and improving the quality of lives. Aligning the great work of the BHF CRC with research funders including UK Research and Innovation will be an important aspect in achieving success.”

Tony leads UKRI’s activity in the commercialisation of research, directing UKRI’s efforts to harness and exploit research to deliver economic impact for the UK. 

Tony’s role started in February 2020 and has the aim of creating new UKRI shared capability for commercialisation, working with and complementing commercialisation: across business-led innovation by Innovate UK, the work of the research councils, and  Research England’s role in driving high quality university research and knowledge exchange. 

Prior to working at UKRI, Tony worked as Deputy Director for Research Faculty, Infrastructure and Growth, within the Department of Health and Social Care for over nine years, where his responsibilities included leading on industry R&D relations and supporting and promoting economic growth.  Prior to that, Tony was Director of Research with a large mental health NHS Trust, and before that held a research management post within the South West NHS Executive.  His first research management post was at the Medical Research Council, following a PhD in Biochemistry from Cardiff University and postdoctoral research at the University of Bristol. 

He has extensive experience as a senior research policy and management leader, with 25 years of research leadership, strategy, commissioning and delivery within a wide variety of research and management environments. 

Doctor Louise Knowles

Louise is Deputy Director of Research Capacity and Growth at the Department of Health and Social Care.  

 Louise is accountable for a number of areas of NIHR, including the NIHR research infrastructure which provides world-class facilities in the health and care system to undertake and support research. This encompasses NIHR Clinical Research Network, Clinical Research Facilities, Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres (co-funded with Cancer Research UK), Biomedical Research Centres, Patient Safety Translational Research Centres, Medtech and In-Vitro Diagnostics Cooperatives, and Applied Research Collaborations.  

 Louise leads the NIHR Faculty, which is the collective term for the people we support to lead and deliver health research, and to train as the next generation of health researchers. This is a diverse group of people – including academic researchers, operational delivery professionals and those training as future applied health researchers. She is also responsible for collaborations with industry, supporting the Government’s life sciences industrial strategy and maximising NIHR’s contribution to wider economic growth.  

Louise has held a number of scientific policy and strategy roles within Government. Prior to joining DHSC in 2015 she was a Foresight Researcher at the Government Office for Science and led a number of Research Programmes for the Food Standards Agency. She has a BSc(Hons) in Microbiology and Virology and an MSc in Public Health.