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The importance of Cardiovascular Phenotype in determining patient outcomes

   Cardiovascular Sciences

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  Dr M Graham-Brown, Prof L Gray  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Cardiovascular diseases remain the second leading cause of death in the UK and are caused by a wide range of conditions. Whilst many of the risk factors that drive cardiovascular diseases are shared (e.g. blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, cholesterol) they manifest in the heart and blood vessels in different ways. Valvular heart disease, coronary artery disease, diabetic heart disease, heart failure and heart disease related to kidney failure are all cardiovascular diseases, but the ways they cause damage to the heart and blood vessels are different. We want to establish to what extent the damaging changes in patients’ hearts and blood vessels associate with their outcomes (death, cardiovascular events, hospitalisation) across and within different diseases. We want to test whether identifying these changes improves traditional clinical risk stratification and the ways treatments may be targeted. 


Leicester is an international centre of excellence for using cardiac MRI to comprehensively understand the changes that occur in the hearts and blood vessels of patients with cardiovascular diseases. This is called ‘cardiovascular phenotyping’. Our research group already has mature databases of thousands of cardiac MRI scans across patient groups, of different ethnic backgrounds from a large number of studies phenotyping the different changes in structure and function of the heart and blood vessels that occur as a result of different cardiovascular diseases. The databases include patient clinical details and the other test results that are commonly used to assess 5-10 year risk of death or cardiovascular events. These databases all exist already and are incredibly data-rich, meaning a successful candidate will be able to start learning to handle the data immediately and we anticipate multiple high-impact publications to stem from this exciting work as well as a highly successful PhD.


This project will link the information in these databases to important patient outcomes and use statistical modelling to identify which changes in the cardiovascular phenotype are most important to determining patient outcomes across diseases and within disease states. Using this outcome data, we will test whether cardiovascular phenotyping with cardiac MRI improves clinical risk scores in predicting patient outcomes. The successful student will be supported by an experienced and highly regarded supervisor team. Their personal development on the project will be prioritised and they will have access to all relevant training and support to make this project highly successful, but also tailored to their career ambitions so they are well and truly prepared for whatever they choose after the successful completion of their PhD.

Entry requirements

UK Bachelor’s Degree with at least 2:1 in a relevant subject or overseas equivalent. 

University of Leicester English language requirements apply where applicable.

To apply, please follow the guidance at:

Funding Notes

This 3-year LPMI studentship provides
• UK/EU tuition fee waiver
• Annual stipend at UKRI rates (£15,609 for 2021/22)


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