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Parliamentarians pay visit to QMUL researchers

Chris Green MP, Stephen Timms MP and Baroness Neville-Jones were welcomed by researchers at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) on a visit organised by the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

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The members of the Commons and Lords Science and Technology Committees met with Professor Federica Marelli-Berg, who was recently awarded the BHF’s prestigious Personal Chair in Cardiovascular Immunology, and Professor Sussan Nourshargh.

Professor Sussan Nourshargh, Head of Centre for Microvascular Research and Professor of Microvascular Pharmacology, said: “The visiting Members of Parliament and House of Lords genuinely enjoyed their visit to QMUL and directed many probing questions to our young researchers. It was a pleasure to host them and to have an opportunity to promote our BHF and Wellcome Trust funded works to policy makers.”

Professor Federica Marelli-Berg, Head of Centre for Biochemical Pharmacology, said: “This was a great opportunity to showcase the ground-breaking research funded by the BHF in my laboratory and to highlight the potential impact of new research in myocarditis which will be carried out in close collaboration with the Barts Heart Institute. It was a very successful visit, and I especially enjoyed the opportunity to hear from and talk to a patient who has received a heart transplant as a consequence of myocarditis.”

Dr Natalia Reglero with Chris Green MP
The team at QMUL’s William Harvey Research Institute are fighting heart transplant rejection and myocarditis, a disease marked by inflammation and damage of the heart muscle, by studying the role that inflammation plays in these conditions.

Their research focuses on a type of white blood cell, called a T-Cell, which protects the body from infections. However, T-cells can also cause inflammation, which can contribute to the rejection of a transplanted heart or chronic heart damage in myocarditis.

The BHF-funded team of researchers have identified a new biological process that directs T-cell migration to the heart. They have shown that by blocking this process they can prevent rejection of heart transplants without affecting the rest of the immune system.

Chris Green MP said: “As a member of the Science and Technology Committee, it was fascinating for me to see in person some of the world leading scientific research that the British Heart Foundation is funding.”

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