Bernard Keavney

Bernard Keavney, BSc BM BCh DM FRCP


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Personal profile


I am British Heart Foundation Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and a Consultant Cardiologist at Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Trust. I joined The University of Manchester in April 2013.

I was a preclinical student at the University of St. Andrews and qualified in medicine from Oxford in 1988. Following junior clinical posts, I was an MRC Clinical Research Training Fellow in the Nuffield Department of Medicine at Oxford from 1993 to 1996. I completed training in clinical cardiology and set up my research group in the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at Oxford 1997-2000 under the mentorship of Professor Hugh Watkins. In 2001 I moved to a Senior Lectureship at Newcastle University, where I founded the Molecular Cardiovascular Research Group and was awarded a University Chair in 2005. I was awarded a BHF Personal Chair in 2008 which has been renewed in 2013, 2018 and 2023.  I have held British Heart Foundation programme grant funding since 2003.

I have been an active clinical cardiologist throughout my scientific career. Between 2001 and 2013 I practiced as a Consultant Interventional Cardiologist; during most of this time my personal procedure volumes were in the top 10% of all operators nationally. More recently my clinical focus is on inherited cardiovascular diseases, and heart disease in pregnancy. I contribute to an integrated NHS service for affected patients and their families provided with colleagues in the Manchester Heart Institute and the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine, part of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.

I have undertaken external academic service including: Chair of the UK Biobank International Scientific Advisory Board (2014-2022), Lead for the Genomics England Clinical Interpretation Partnership Cardiovascular Domain (2015-2022), as a member of the Medical Research Council's Populations and Systems Medicine Board (2015-2020), and as a Non-Executive Director within the NHS (2018-2023).

Research interests

My main research interest is in the genetics of complex cardiovascular diseases.  Among contributions my colleagues and I have made to this field are: the first demonstration of limited haplotype diversity over long distances in the human genome (1996); the first success in trans-ethnic fine mapping of a complex genetic trait in man (1998); the first large-scale genetic studies of myocardial infarction (2000-2004); the introduction of the approach known as “Mendelian Randomisation” into genetic epidemiology (2001); the first large-scale meta-analyses of genetic associations with myocardial infarction (2005-2008); demonstration of the mechanism involved in the association between MI and its strongest common genetic risk factor (2010); and studies applying insights from GWAS to successfully predict side-effects of commonly used new drugs (2014).

Our principal focus in the last ten or so years has been congenital heart disease where where together with our collaborators we have identified novel genetic predisposing factors and made key observations about the genetic architecture of CHD. Contributions include: demonstration of the role of copy number variants in the human genome and sporadic congenital heart disease (2012); the first published genome-wide association studies of congenital heart disease (2013); large-scale exome-sequencing studies in congenital heart disease (2016-2020);global epidemiological surveys of CHD using meta-analysis (2019); and studies of the impact of COVID-19 on patients with CHD (2023).

We are now working to understand the functional biology underlying some of the many genetic associations with complex cardiovascular diseases that have been detected in our population based work, and using next-generation sequencing, mouse and iPSC modelling and genome-editing approaches to further define the genetic architecture of congenital heart disease.

We are also using large-scale population based resources (eg the UK Biobank, 100,000 Genomes Project, Clinical Practice Research Datalink, and CVD-COVID-UK platforms) to better understand the genetic and environmental factors predisposing to CHD and involved in determining the later life prognosis of those who have survived CHD in childhood.


I have supervised many students to MRes, PhD and MD Degrees.  Several of these have achieved Honours, national/international prizes and substantial publications from their work.

Among the extraordinary colleagues it has been my honour to mentor as postdoctoral scientists or clinicians, are academic Chairs and senior hospital cardiologists in the UK, Europe, and in the Global South. 

I am an Academic Advisor to undergraduate medical students

My collaborations

Postdoctoral Research Scientists

Dr. Gennady Tenin, DCVS

Dr Simon Williams, DCVS

Dr Farideh Jalali, DCVS

Dr Richard Monaghan, DCVS

Dr Yingjuan Liu, DCVS

Dr Stephanie Baross, DCVS

Dr Liqun Zhang, DCVS


External collaborators include:

Prof Liesl Zuhlke, University of Cape Town

Prof Mark Engel, University of Cape Town

Prof. Heather Cordell, Newcastle University

Dr. Alex Postma, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, NL

Dr Connie Bezzina, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, NL

Prof Guillaume Pare, Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University, Canada


Methodological knowledge

Genetic epidemiology
Human genetic studies of cardiovascular disease
Investigation of expression QTLs
Meta-analyses of genetic data
Functional studies of genetic mutations and polymorphisms
Next-generation sequencing
Interpretation of largescale genetic datasets

Mouse and iPSC modelling of congenital heart disease

Clinical cardiology, including coronary intervention, heart disease in pregnancy, and inherited cardiac disease
Non-invasive and invasive phenotyping of cardiovascular disease


BSc (1st class Hons) University of St. Andrews 1985

BM BCh Oxford University 1988

MRCP 1991

DM Oxford University 1999

FRCP 2004

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Digital Futures
  • Institute for Data Science and AI
  • Manchester Regenerative Medicine Network
  • Advanced Materials in Medicine
  • Christabel Pankhurst Institute
  • Healthier Futures


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