Celebrating Britain's 101 Most Influential Asians 2024

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Prof Sir Nilesh Samani


AFTER more than seven years in the role, Professor Sir Nilesh Samani stepped down as medical director of the British Heart Foundation (BHF) in December 2023. He was the chair of BHF from 2003 to 2016, before taking up the role of medical director, and has played a significant role in establishing the organisation as the UK’s leading funder of non-commercial cardiovascular research. “Over the past seven years Nilesh has made a huge impact as our medical director, and he leaves a fantastic legacy of innovation and commitment to making progress for patients through research,” Charmaine Griffiths, BHF chief executive, commented.

Professor Samani’s contribution to cardio vascular medicine has been widely recognised. In 2021, he won the prestigious European Society of Cardiology Gold Medal, the organisation’s highest honour. He is also the winner of the Mackenzie Medal of the British Cardiovascular Society and the Okamoto award of the Japanese Circulation Foundation. The main focus of Samani’s research has been in understanding the links between genetics and heart and circulatory conditions. His research, undertaken with collaborators around the world, has identified over 200 genes associated with risk of coronary artery disease which causes heart attacks.

His work has established Leicester, where continues to serve as professor of cardiology at the University of Leicester and honorary consultant cardiologist at University Hospitals of Leicester, as an internationally-renowned centre for research into genetics of heart diseases. Samani has coupled his research with caring for patients at Glenfield Hospital.

As a consult ant for over three decades he has looked after thousands of patients from Leicestershire. His dedication to patient care has been widely appreciated by the local community and he has been awarded a Platinum Clinical Excellence award by the NHS. Born in Kenya, his family moved to the UK in 1971. He attended

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