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Ioannis Akoumianakis

MD, DPhil (Oxon)

Academic Clinical Lecturer, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine

  • Academic research
  • Undergraduate medical student teaching
  • Honorary Cardiology SpR, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust

Translational cardiovascular research with focus on redox signalling and imaging tools

Obesity, insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease comprise a network of interrelated pathophysiological processes driven by inflammation and dysregulated redox signalling. Despite recent advances, there is still an unmet need to better characterise the underlying mechanisms of cardiometabolic disease, in order to improve cardiovascular health.

My research focuses on the crosstalk between the adipose tissue (AT) and the cardiovascular system, investigating the implications of this crosstalk for molecular insulin resistance,  oxidative stress and inflammation in the human heart and vessels, as well as pharmacological ways to harness this crosstalk. In that regard, recent work from our group has introduced the novel concept of vascular insulin resistance in atherosclerosis, as well as tools for quantifying vascular inflammation in human vessels, Our ambition is to expand these concepts and translate them into clinical practice. 

The Oxford cohort for Heart, Vessels and Fat (Ox-HVF) comprises the core platform for my projects. This is a unique bioresource of patients undergoing cardiac surgery, with a wealth of data, i.e., clinical parameters, imaging data, tissue biopsies, functional ex vivo markers, genomic and transcriptomic databases. My research tools include specialised ex vivo models of human vessels, myocardium and AT, molecular biology techniques such as Western blotting and real-time polymerase chain reaction, and a variety of statistical tools including big data and bioinformatics analyses. By combining all the aforementioned levels of data, I hope to identify novel mechanims and therapeutic targets in cardiovascular disease, allowing for personalised and efficient patient management.

Besides my research activities, I am also responsible for cardiology teaching of undergaduate students at the University of Oxford, whilst I am also a honorary Cardiology Specialty Registrar at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust.