Cardiovascular Disease

Red blood cells in a fibrin clotCoronary heart disease and strokes are the second and fourth leading causes of death in this country and are caused mainly by atherosclerosis, the laying down of cholesterol in arteries. This module describes, at the biochemical and physiological levels, the underlying causes of these diseases and how drugs, including the cholesterol-lowering drugs statins, can be used to treat them. The role of lifestyle, including diet, in cardiovascular disease is discussed.

Spring Term


LeakeDavid_largeProfessor David Leake is the programme advisor for the Biomedical Sciences programme and the module co-ordinator for the Cardiovascular Disease module. His research is concerned with the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, a condition in which the walls of arteries thicken. He is specifically interested in the mechanisms of low density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation and the effects that oxidised LDL has on cells within atherosclerotic lesions. The ultimate aim is to use antioxidants to inhibit the oxidation of LDL or to protect the cells from the harmful effects of oxidised LDL.

Natasha BarrettDr Natasha Barrett is a platelet biologist, working on human blood. She obtained her BSc in Biochemistry and PhD from the University of Reading, before getting hooked on studying blood cells, in particular the platelets, in the lab of Prof. Jon Gibbins. Platelets stick together at sites of injury to help the blood clot, preventing excess blood loss. Natasha has been lecturing since 2007. She meets most students in the School during their first term and really enjoys helping students find their feet in their new studies. Although the lectures are enjoyable, she really likes running the practical classes, where students get to apply some of the theory they have learnt.

Other lecturers teaching on this module include Professor Peter Sugden and Professor Angela Clerk

Module convenor: Professor David Leake

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