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Personal profile


I held clinical and research posts in London and Scotland before appointment to the University of Edinburgh’s Christison Chair of Therapeutics & Clinical Pharmacology in 1995. I am a consultant physician and clinical pharmacologist/toxicologist at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and Western General Hospital, running Edinburgh’s (European Society for Hypertension) Hypertension Excellence Centre. I also teach and train undergraduate and postgraduate doctors and scientists (>35 PhDs awarded). My main clinical interests are in hypertension and cardiovascular risk management, with my research focusing on the pathophysiology of hypertension and renal disease, particularly arterial stiffness and endothelial function.

I established Edinburgh’s Centre for Cardiovascular Science, in which I run the Hypertension and Kidney Theme. I am a principal investigator in Edinburgh’s British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence (BHF CoRE) at the Queen’s Medical Research Institute. I have run Scottish Translational Medicine and Therapeutics Initiatives funded by the MRC and Wellcome Trust. I have published > 700 peer-reviewed papers, on clinical pharmacology and cardiovascular disease, and 5 books on cardiovascular topics. My articles have received >40,000 citations (h-index >100). I ran Edinburgh’s University Department of Medicine (1997-2001), Edinburgh‘s Wellcome Trust Cardiovascular Research Initiative (£7M grant; 1998-2001) and Centre for Cardiovascular Science (2000-4).  

I am a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh (1992) and London (1994), Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine (1993; Honorary Fellowship awarded 2016), American Heart Association (1995), Academy of Medical Sciences (1999; first elected cohort; Council member), European Society of Cardiology (2001), British Pharmacological Society (2004; first elected cohort: Honorary Fellowship awarded 2018), Royal Society of Edinburgh (2004) and British Hypertension Society (2014; first elected cohort). I am Fellow (Honoris Causa) of Academia Europaea. I was awarded a CBE in the 2020 Queen's Birthday Honours list.

My main academic body is the British Pharmacological Society (BPS). I was President (2016-17), having previously held a number of posts (including Vice-President Clinical, Vice-President Meetings and President-Elect). BPS awarded me the biennial Silver Medal for research in 1994, and the Lilly Prize and Gold Medal for contributions to clinical pharmacology in 2003. I am Past-President of the European Society for Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics (EACPT; 2009), Executive Committee member of the International Union of Pharmacology (IUPHAR), and Vice Chair of its Clinical Division. I am President of IUPHAR’s World Congress of Basic & Clinical Pharmacology, to be held at the SEC in Glasgow in 2022.

I am currently Deputy Chair, and a Non-Executive Director, of the Board of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), an Executive Agency of the Department of Health, with a mission to protect and improve the health of millions of people every day through the effective regulation of medicines and devices, underpinned by science and research. Alongside regulation of medicines, medical devices, and the investigation of harmful incidents, MHRA also incorporates the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC), where I chair the Scientific Advisory Committee, and the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD), supported by around 1000 staff and an annual budget of around £100M.

In Scotland, my main national roles include Chair, Scottish Medicines Consortium (Scotland’s equivalent of NICE) and its New Drugs Committee (2000-08). I have been President of the Scottish Society of Physicians and Vice-President, Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh.

My research in a nutshell

My main clinical interests are in hypertension, chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular risk management and I run a European Society of Hypertension (ESH) Hypertension Excellence Centre in Edinburgh, and coordinate secondary care hypertension services in Lothian. My research focuses on the pathophysiology of hypertension and renal disease, particularly arterial stiffness and endothelial function, and includes a large body of work on exploiting the endothelin system forthe treatment of patients with vascular disease. My research spans from studies in models of human disease to translational, first-in-human and proof-of-principle studies, and large clinical trials. I did some of the first human studies with renin inhibitors, endothelin antagonists and PDE5 inhibitors. My main aim is to see safe and effective treatments introduced into clinical practice. My publications can be found here.


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