Professor John Danesh


As a Faculty member Danesh works to further understand cardiometabolic traits through combining cardiovascular epidemiology with genomic research techniques. Danesh is Director of HDR UK Cambridge, a consortium comprising the Wellcome Sanger Institute, EMBL-EBI, the University of Cambridge and its hospitals, which aims to understand disease at a deeper than ever biological level, to enable us to better predict the onset and progression of ill-health and tailor medicines for sub-types of disease, as well as predict patients’ reaction to medicines.

About John Danesh

Professor John Danesh is a Research Director at Health Data Research (HDR) UK, leading the Understanding Causes of Disease area of research and the HDR UK Cambridge Substantive Site.

Danesh’s research focus is on providing novel insights into the causes and predictors of chronic diseases. His main research interests are discovery genomics and cardiovascular genetics, therapeutic target prioritisation, international vascular health, screening and risk prediction, systems genomics and blood donor health and biology.

Danesh’s research has helped to pioneer the use, at scale, of integrative population approaches to provide novel insights into the causes and predictors of coronary heart disease (CHD), demonstrating causal roles for interleukin-6 signalling, IL-1 signalling, and triglyceride-mediated pathways. His work on risk prediction has significantly influenced risk management, and has been cited in 10 major guidelines since 2009. More recently, he has led major initiatives to improve the safety and efficiency of blood donation through strategic collaborations with NHS Blood and Transplant.

Danesh is a leader and advocate of “team science” in international health research. For example, in addition to his leadership role in HDR UK, he created and direct the 2.5 million-participant Emerging Risk Factors Collaboration which elucidates the relevance of cardiovascular risk factors (>100 scientists from >25 countries) and the 520,000-participant pan-European EPIC-CVD consortium which studies the interplay of genetic and lifestyle factors (>60 scientists from 12 countries). He has led the creation of major bioresources that benefit the UK research community (eg, the 50,000-participant INTERVAL study and the 30,000-participant COMPARE study) and the international research community (eg, as co-PI of studies in Bangladesh and Pakistan that have recruited >100,000 participants).

Danesh is Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine and since 2001 has been Head of the Department of Public Health and Primary Care, one of Europe’s leading academic population health departments with ~450 members, at the University of Cambridge. He is also Director of the British Heart Foundation’s Cardiovascular Epidemiology Unit and Honorary Consultant at the Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

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