Conference speakers


Dr Derek Leslie CONNOLLY
BSc [1cl Hons] MB ChB [Edin] PhD [Cantab] FRCP
Consultant Interventional Cardiologist and the Director of Research and Development
Birmingham City Hospital, Birmingham, UK

Dr Derek Connolly is a Consultant Interventional Cardiologist and the Director of Research and Development at Birmingham City Hospital. He is an Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer at the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Birmingham, UK.

He trained in Edinburgh, Cambridge, London and San Diego where he was a Carnegie Scholar. He has a first class degree in Pharmacology from the University of Edinburgh where he was the Brunton medallist and Keasbey Bursary holder. His BHF funded PhD in molecular cardiology is from the University of Cambridge. He is the Chief or Primary Investigator of multiple large trials in Cardiovascular medicine. He developed one of the UKs first primary angioplasty programmes, and one of the UKs largest cardiac CT programmes.

He was on the design and naming team of the forthcoming super hospital, the Midland Metropolitan University Hospital which will open 2022.

Professor Paul DURRINGTON
MD, FRCP, FRCPath, FMedSci
Honorary Professor of Medicine
University of Manchester
Cardiovascular Research Group, Manchester, UK

Paul Durrington retired from his substantive post as Professor of Medicine at the University of Manchester in 2009 and retired as Consultant Physician at Manchester Royal Infirmary, UK in 2012. He continues to work in the Cardiovascular Research Group of the University of Manchester as Honorary Professor of Medicine and to publish regularly. He graduated in physiology and medicine at the University of Bristol and trained in general internal medicine, diabetes mellitus and metabolic disorders. From 1979-80, he worked at the University of California, San Diego, USA, as a travelling fellow of the British Heart Foundation and American Heart Association. His research interests centre on disorders of lipoprotein metabolism, atherogenic modification of lipoproteins, insulin resistance and diabetes. He was Chairman of the British Hyperlipidaemia Association (1992-1995), a member of the British Heart Foundation Project Grants Committee (1997-2000), Director of Research and Development at the Central Manchester Healthcare Trust (1997-2001) and a member of the European Science Foundation Genetics and Epidemiology of Atherosclerosis International Review panel (2005). From 2008 to 2012 he led the Greater Manchester Vascular Research Network. He was a member of the European Cardiac Society Task Force on Dyslipidaemia (2009-2015) and is from time to time a consultant to the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and an editor of Current Opinion in Lipidology. In 2010 he gave the Myant Lecture to HEART UK. Currently, he chairs of the Steering Committee of the National Institute of Health Research funded HealthTechnology Assessment Project:15/134/02 – ‘Evaluating alternative protocols for identifying and managing patients with familial hypercholesterolaemia: cost-effectiveness analysis with qualitative study’. In 2001 he was elected to the Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences for his work on diabetic dyslipidaemia and on HDL metabolism. He is author of over 400 original papers and other publications including Hyperlipidaemia: Diagnosis and Management 3rd Edition (2007, London: Hodder Arnold) and with Allan Sniderman Hyperlipidemia 6th Edition (2020, Oxford: Karger Press).

Miss Emma ELVIN 
BSc (Hons), PG Cert
Senior Clinical Advisor
Diabetes UK
London, UK

Emma Elvin, Senior Clinical Advisor at Diabetes UK, is a registered Dietitian with a postgraduate certificate in Applied Sports Nutrition. Emma has worked at Diabetes UK for five years having previously worked in the NHS for around two and a half years, where she supported patients living with diabetes and other medical conditions to make dietary changes. Emma is currently the clinical lead for type 2 and gestational diabetes prevention as well as cardiovascular disease as a complication of diabetes.

In her time at Diabetes UK, Emma has been involved in the update of Diabetes UK’s evidence-based guidelines for the prevention and management of diabetes. These guidelines were published in the academic journal Diabetic Medicine.  She has spoken at professional conferences including DUKPC where she presented to a group of Dietitians and at the South Asian Health Foundation conference where she spoke to a group including primary and secondary care health professionals. Emma has also written for Diabetes UK’s professional membership magazine, Update. Emma is a media spokesperson for Diabetes UK, having appeared on national and local TV and radio where she supports the charity in raising awareness of diabetes.

PhD Candidate
University of Surrey, UK

Alan is currently a PhD candidate in nutrition at the University of Surrey, having completed his Masters degree in nutrition science at the same institution. Alan is the founder of Alinea Nutrition, an online education hub dedicated to providing impartial, science-based nutrition analysis. Alan is also Research Communication Officer for Sigma Nutrition, creating educational resources for nutrition science. Originally a lawyer by background in Dublin, Ireland, Alan spent a decade practicing as a barrister before moving into science.

Dr Michael FRANCE
Consultant in Chemical Pathology
Department of Clinical Biochemistry
Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust
Manchester, UK

Michael France is a Chemical Pathologist with a specialist interest in Lipidology. He has worked with HEART UK in producing consensus guidelines for management of homozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia and Lipoprotein (a) testing. He has published widely in the field of Lipidology and Clinical Biochemistry and has a particular interest in the diagnostic utility of laboratory tests.

BSc (Hons), RD
Dietetic Advisor
Maidenhead, UK

Lynne is a registered Dietitian with over 30 years' experience including in hospitals, general practice, public health, industry and the media. Lynne has been involved in several TV programmes, contributed to national newspapers and has provided nutritional input into various books - including co-authoring two books on plant-based eating.

Lynne is also Editor of a Complete Nutrition publication, circulated to over 10,000 nutrition professionals. She was also a member of the British Dietetic Association’s Sustainable Diets Working Group which resulted in delivering webinars to healthcare professionals and lecturing to nutrition students on sustainable diets

Lynne is now using her dietetic skills to support the work of HEART UK, where she provides advice and support on all dietary matters related to lipid conditions and heart health. Her philosophy is to provide nutritional advice that is based on sound science yet is practical and realistic for today's way of life.

High Parks  Medical Practice
Cliffe Woods, Kent

GP Governing Body Member | Kent & Medway CCG
Clinical Lead | CVD Prevent Audit 
Chair | HEART UK  

Dr Pankaj GUPTA
Consultant Metabolic Physician and Chemical Pathologist
University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust
Leicester, UK

Dr Pankaj Gupta heads the Lipid Clinic and also runs the Hypertension Clinic (European Centre of Excellence).  His laboratory interests are cardiovascular biomarkers and he is the Co-Director of The National Centre of Adherence Testing (NCAT) which provides chemical adherence testing to approximately 35 NHS hospitals.

He is an Honorary Associate Professor in the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Leicester and on the Faculty for Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) East Midlands.  He has received more than £600,000 in grant money, led multiple commercial and non-commercial studies as PI, supervises four current PhD students and has published 18 papers in the field of non-adherence along with two book chapters.

FH Network Manager  
Familial Hypercholesterolaemia Service 
University Hospital of Wales
Wales, UK

Kate Haralambos has worked with FH services for 14 years. She completed an MSc in Genetic Counselling at Cardiff University in 2006, and has worked with the BHF and HEART UK for many years, coordinating the FH Register in England (PASS). This was carried out while she worked for Cardiff University, funded by both BHF and NIHR grants to carry out FH research. Research areas included FH cascade testing, Heath Economics, developing the “Welsh” criteria to improve mutation detection rate in the selection of index patients for genetic testing (Haralambos et al Atherosclerosis 2015), and segregation testing in families identified with a genetic variant of uncertain significance (VUS) to obtain data on pathogenicity. She has frequently presented updates of the PASS data at HEARTUK and other National meetings, and was a member of the National FH Forum chaired by Huon Grey.  Currently she works for the Wales FH service as the Network Manager.

Dr James HOWARD 
Clinical Lecturer
Imperial College London
London, UK

James is an NIHR Clinical Lecturer and Cardiology Registrar at Imperial College London. His research focuses on using novel computational approaches to solve important problems in heart disease.

James was recently awarded his PhD, “Deep Learning Using Convolutional Neural Networks in Clinical Cardiology”, which was supported by a prestigious Wellcome Trust PhD Fellowship. He has published extensively in the field of cardiovascular medicine, particularly artificial intelligence (AI) and he was recently awarded a prize by Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon for his work on detecting 'fake news' using AI.

James was joint first author on the SAMSON trial, published in the New England Journal of Medicine. This novel "N-of-1" trial used smartphones to assess daily symptoms in patients who were previously unable to take statins, and showed that 90% of the symptom burden our patients suffer from taking statins is also present when they take placebo.

James read Clinical Medicine at Trinity College, the University of Cambridge, where he also undertook his BA in Natural Sciences. Alongside his medical training he has undertaken postgraduate qualifications in Clinical Trials from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and in Medical Education from the University of Cardiff. 

Professor Steve HUMPHRIES
Emeritus Professor Cardiovascular Genetics
Institute Cardiovascular Science, London, UK

Steve Humphries is a world-renowned expert in cardiovascular genetics, a field in which he has worked for over 40 years.   He worked at University College London from 1991, where he was the British Heart Foundation Professor of Cardiovascular Genetics, retiring in September 2015 and is the UCL Emeritus Professor of Cardiovascular Genetics. He directed a major research programme to develop and implement molecular strategies to study the causes and clinical and psychological consequences of Familial Hypercholesterolaemia (FH). He was the Lead Advisor to the UK NICE guidelines on FH published in 2008, and updated in 2017, and has published on the health economics of cascade testing and Universal Screening for FH. He is the chair of the Pan-London FH action group and the Director of the UK FH Pediatric Register and the Simon Broome FH Register. He is actively involved with teaching, ethics, and public awareness aspects of the implementation of genetic testing for FH.

Professor Nicholas John LINKER
National Clinical Director for Heart Disease
NHS England and Improvement
London, UK

Professor Nick Linker is National Clinical Director for Heart Disease, NHS England & NHS Improvement, Chair of the Cardiac Services Clinical Reference Group and a consultant cardiologist at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.  He leads on the implementation of the NHS Long Term Plan for heart disease and development of policy for heart disease for Specialised Commissioning.  He co-chairs the Specialised Cardiac Improvement Programme and has responsibility for the national cardiac registries.

He trained in Manchester Royal Infirmary and St George’s Hospital, London and was appointed Consultant Cardiologist with an interest in cardiac electrophysiology in 1998.  His clinical practice is focused on heart rhythm and syncope management plus cardiac implantable electronic devices (pacemakers & ICDs).

Professor Andrew NEIL
Emeritus Professor of Clinical Epidemiology
University of Oxford, Wolfson College
Oxford, UK

Andrew is Emeritus Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Oxford.  He was an Honorary Consultant Physician at the Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism (OCDEM) at the Churchill Hospital and, on retirement, was appointed Senior Tutor at Wolfson College, Oxford, for three years before being elected Emeritus Fellow.  He read history at the University of Cambridge and, after graduation, studied Medicine at St Thomas’ Hospital, London.  His research has focused on the determinants of coronary heart disease and its prevention, particularly in relation to diabetes, dyslipidaemias and nutrition. He has conducted an extensive programme of clinical research consisting both of large-scale epidemiological studies and randomised controlled trials and published nearly 250 research papers.  Outcomes of trials such as the Collaborative Atorvastatin Diabetes Study (CARDS) and epidemiological studies, including the Simon Broome Register of Familial Hyperlipidaemia, have had important implications for evidence-based practice and the organisation and delivery of care.  He directed the Simon Broome Register for over twenty years; was a member of the NICE Familial Hypercholesterolaemia (CG71) Guideline Development Panel; was a Senior Research Fellow of the National Institute for Health Research; and is a past Chairman of HEART UK.

Ms Michaela NUTTALL 
Cardiovascular Nurse Specialist
Smart Health Solutions
Bromley, UK

Michaela, is a cardiovascular nurse specialist with a unique and varied experience across the NHS and beyond. She developed her passion for prevention over 25 years ago. 2016 she left public health after 16 years and now has a range of roles, Director for Smart Health Solutions, Associate in Nursing for C3 Collaborating for Health. In 2020 she founded Learn With Nurses CIC.

Often seen as the voice of reason, she is Chair of HEART UK Health Care Committee, sits on the Guidelines& Information and Nurses working parties of the British and Irish Hypertension Society and elected to the education committee of the Association of Cardiovascular Nursing & Allied Professions.

Some of Michaela's proudest achievements are being the founding chair Prevention Group for the South East London Cardiac Network and the Cardiovascular Nurse Leaders Group (CVNL), writing for the WHO and being invited to present at the American Heart Association. Until March 2021, she was also the Clinical Advisor for CVD Prevention at Public Health England.

Being a Trustee at PoTS UK keeps her firmly rooted in the challenges patients face in living with life altering conditions

Often not lost for words, she was delighted and overwhelmed when she won the Nutrition and Health Nurse of the Year Award in 2013.

Prof Sotirios (Sam) TSIMIKAS
Medicine and Director of Vascular Medicine
University of California San Diego School of Medicine
San Diego, USA

Dr. Tsimikas is Professor of Medicine and the Director of Vascular Medicine at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. His education and training included obtaining his MD degree from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Internal Medicine training at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, and separate fellowships in Cardiovascular Medicine, Atherosclerosis and Molecular Medicine and Interventional Cardiology at the University of California San Diego (UCSD( Medical Center. Dr. Tsimikas is the Founding Director of the Vascular Medicine Program withing the Cardiovascular Medicine Division, which encompasses treating patients in the continuum of high-risk primary prevention to endovascular intervention. In 2014, he established the world’s first dedicated “Lp(a) Clinic”. Dr. Tsimikas’ research interests are translational in scope and focus on two major areas: 1-“biotheranostics”- biomarkers, molecular imaging and therapeutics targeted to oxidation-specific epitopes, and 2- Lp(a) pathophysiology and therapeutics. He has published in all of the major medical journals, including NEJM, Lancet, Nature, Cell and has over 280 original manuscripts, review articles and book chapters. He currently has a dual appointment at University of California San Diego Medical School and as Senior Vice President of Global Cardiovascular Development at Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Carlsbad, CA. He is co-inventor of 13 issued patents, and co-founder of Oxitope, Inc, Kleanthi Diagnostics and Covicept Inc.

Professor Anthony S WIERZBICKI
Consultant in Metabolic Medicine/Chemical Pathology
Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital
London, UK

Professor Anthony Wierzbicki is consultant in metabolic medicine/chemical pathology at Guy’s & St. Thomas’ Hospitals and honorary Professor in Cardiometabolic Disease at King’s College London. He runs a regional centre for lipid-related disorders and provides obesity medicine services and helped set up the regional bariatric service. He is clinical lead for Blood Sciences at Viapath at Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospitals. His research interests are in the relationship of lipids to atherosclerosis and the role of lipids in peroxisomal diseases. He has been awarded Fellowships of the American Heart Association and of the National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry (USA) for his contributions to atherosclerosis and lipid biology which include 350 publications, 19 book chapters and 1 book.  He was a trustee of HEART-UK (the Cholesterol charity) and was chairman of this charity’s medical and scientific committee (2002-08).

At the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) he has served on the Technology Appraisal (2006-9), Highly Specialised Therapies (2013-5) and Diagnostics Appraisal committees (2014-). He was a member of the Familial Hypercholesterolaemia guideline development group (CG71; 2008-2009) and chair of the Lipid Modification Guideline Development Group (CG181; 2012-4). He is now chair of the guideline development groups for Chronic Heart Failure (2016-18); Hypertension (2017-19) and Chronic Kidney Disease (2018-). He was a writing group member for the International guidelines on Familial Hypercholesterolaemia (2013-14) and the American Heart Association scientific consensus statement on Familial Hypercholesterolemia (2015).

Consultant Clinical Scientist, Deputy Head of Bristol Genetics Laboratory and Rare Disease Lead for the South West Genomic laboratory Hub
Bristol Genetics Laboratory, North Bristol NHS Trust
Bristol, UK

Maggie Williams is a Consultant Clinical Scientist at the Bristol Genetics Laboratory at North Bristol Trust, with over 30 yrs experience in NHS laboratory genetics.

Her team at BGL developed the first comprehensive high throughput Next Generation Sequencing panel test for Familial Hypercholesterolaemia ( including Polygenic Risk Scoring), now used by multiple lipid teams and cardiologists across England. The team have now provided cost effective gene screening to over 15,000 FH cases facilitating the FH cascade programme initiative, and have supported national genomic training to FH nurses and health care professionals.

The Bristol team also provide the National Gene panel testing service for FCS.

As Research and Innovation lead she is responsible for academic collaborations and supporting research studies and the implementation of innovative technologies to genetic healthcare.

As a member of the FH GECIP she has been involved in recruiting and data analysis for the 100,000 genomes project, working with Genomics England and NHSE/Research colleagues.

Prof Ian S YOUNG 
Professor of Medicine
Queen’s University Belfast

Ian Young is Professor of Medicine at Queen’s University Belfast, and Deputy Medical Director and Consultant Chemical Pathologist at Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.  In addition, he is Chief Scientific Advisor to the Department of Health, Northern Ireland, and Director of Research for Health and Social Care, Northern Ireland.   His main clinical and research interests are in nutrition and lipid metabolism, particularly in relation to cardiovascular disease prevention and management of patients with complex lipid disorders.  He is author of over 400 published research papers.  He is Past-President of the Association for Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine, UK, and previous Chair of the Joint Committee for Traceability in Laboratory Medicine (JCTLM). He currently Chair of the UK Government’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition.  He is Associate Editor for the journal Clinical Chemistry, and a member of the editorial boards of a number of other international journals.