The RVC Cardiovascular and Renal Biology team is a group of scientists and clinicians with interests in both veterinary and human health and disease.

The RVC is a leading veterinary institute undertaking feline chronic kidney disease (CKD) research and is renowned for its clinical cardiology research.

The team is also composed of basic scientists with world-leading expertise in cardiovascular and renal biology. 

Cardiovascular Biology

Cardiovascular cell biology is a particular focus, with RVC academics working on human and animal endothelial and cardiac cells, leukocytes and platelets, and investigating mechanisms of vascular cell-cell communication.

Several groups also use in vivo models of cardiovascular regeneration, vascular and metabolic diseases to better understand physiological and pathological cardiovascular and cerebrovascular processes.

The research is relevant to the following conditions:

Renal Biology (Dr Elisa Vasilopoulou, Professor Jonathan Elliott, Professor Hattie Syme, Dr Rosanne Jepson, Dr Rebecca Geddes, Dr Jack Lawson)

The renal biology focus is on the pathogenesis of kidney diseases. We are using in vitro and in vivo models to better understand the mechanisms that modulate the progression of kidney disease, including the effects of endothelial dysfunction and diabetes on kidney function. Areas of interest include the structure and function of the glomerular filtration barrier and the role of inflammation in kidney injury and repair. 

We have a particular focus on naturally occurring chronic kidney disease (CKD) in the cat and its potential as a model for progression of tubulointerstitial fibrosis. The group has contributed significantly to the understanding of mineral bone disorder in cats with CKD, research which has informed new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. There is strong collaboration between basic scientists and clinical specialists and ageing healthy cat and cats with CKD are recruited through two primary care practices in London through a longitudinal health screening programme. Two other ageing conditions of cats, hypertension and hyperthyroidism are also studied and collaborations with geneticists are beginning to shed light on the genetic factors that influence the pathogenesis of these two common problems.

Clinical research in this area includes:

  • Investigating endothelial function/dysfunction in dogs
  • Mitral valve disease in dogs
    • EPIC (Evaluation of Pimobendan In Cardiomegaly) Study
  • The prevalence of heart disease in cat
  • Identifying biomarkers for heart disease in dogs and cats
  • Feline cardiomyopathy
  • Feline hypertension
  • Chronic kidney disease

Led by Professor Caroline Wheeler-Jones

BSc Hons; PhD; FHEA
Professor of Vascular Cell Biology

Caroline is a Professor of Vascular Cell Biology and is Head of Comparative Biomedical Sciences. Her major research interests are focused on the molecular control of endothelial cell function in health and disease.

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