Our people

The NIHR funds and supports world-class experts in the field of cardiovascular disease. In addition, our experts in the NIHR Clinical Research Network (National Specialty Leads) can give advice on delivering your cardiovascular disease study in the NHS.

The National Specialty Leads provide leadership on clinical studies in conditions, and act as a key clinical ambassador for these conditions within the specialty.

Due to its size and complexity, we have appointed three National Specialty Leads for cardiovascular disease, each of whom is responsible for a key cross-cutting research theme.


Dr Paul Clift

Dr Paul Clift trained at Birmingham Children's Hospital, Great Ormond Street and the Heart Hospital in London, qualifying in 1993. He was a research fellow at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, being awarded an MD in 2000 for his thesis on Endothelin and the Cardiovascular Response to Hypoxia.

He trained in Congenital Cardiology at the Heart Hospital in London and the Queen Elizabeth and Birmingham Children's Hospitals in Birmingham, before being appointed as a Consultant in Adult Congenital Heart Disease at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in 2004.

Dr Clift is currently the NIHR Clinical Research Network National Specialty Lead for Cardiovascular Disease, specialising in pulmonary hypertension, congenital heart disease and arrhythmias. He has carried out varied research into congenital heart disease.


Dr Patrick Calvert

Dr Patrick Calvert is a Consultant Interventional Cardiologist at Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, specialising in coronary and structural intervention.

Dr Calvert graduated from the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford and trained in the Eastern Deanery for general and interventional cardiology, in both coronary and structural intervention. He undertook a PhD at Cambridge University, investigating vulnerability in coronary plaques using radio-frequency intravascular ultrasound and biomarkers, which resulted in several publications and prizes. Before undertaking a Fellowship in Paris in 2010 at Center Hospitalier Bichat with Profs Vahanian and Steg.

His programme of research into the vulnerable plaque continues with a multi-modality approach including VH-IVUS, OCT and PET-CT. He is Principal Investigator on several database projects examining the health outcomes from coronary and structural interventions using the BCIS database.

He is a member of the EuroPCR Programme Committee, TCT Scientific Committee in the US, as well as, a member of the Editorial Board of Advances in Interventional Cardiology. Dr Calvert is currently the NIHR Clinical Research Network National Specialty Lead for Cardiovascular, specialising in atherosclerosis and preventive cardiovascular diseases.


Prof John Pepper OBE

Prof John Pepper was appointed as a Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Brompton and Harefield hospitals in 1990. His clinical work spans across adult cardiac surgery, with a special interest in heart failure, mechanical circulatory support, aortic valve surgery and surgery of the thoracic aorta.

Prof Pepper has initiated ten randomised trials, all of which has resulted as papers in high impact journals. He is also the lead clinician for Aortic and Valve research for the Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit, and lead clinician for the Aortic theme in the Institute of Cardiovascular Medicine and Science (ICMS) between Brompton and Liverpool.

Since 2010, Prof Pepper has been chair of the Structural Heart Disease Care Group, at the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust. During this time the TAVI team has continued to grow and the UK TAVI trial recruiting to time and target.

Over the last eight years he has served on several trial steering committees and drug safety committees, working closely with the Imperial College Clinical Trials Unit. Prof Pepper is currently the NIHR Clinical Research Network National Specialty Lead for Cardiovascular Disease, with a special remit for heart failure and surgery.



The NIHR Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure (NOCRI) helps public, charity and industry research funders work in partnership with NIHR infrastructure. Find out more about how they can support collaborations in the life sciences industry section of our website.