The Team

VIRTUheart™ is a collaboration between clinical academic Cardiologists from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and engineers and physicists from the University of Sheffield. The assembled team are also members of the INSIGNEO Institute for In Silico Medicine

The core team is based within the Medical Physics Group which is part of the Department of Cardiovascular Science at the University of Sheffield, UK.

In addition to this core team, we are proud to work alongside a number of other partners.

Dr Julian Gunn, MA MBBChir MD MRCP, Principal Investigator

Reader in Interventional Cardiology, Department of Cardiovascular Science, University of Sheffield, Hon Consultant Cardiologist, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 

Dr Gunn is the Principal Investigator on the current Wellcome Trust and Department of Health – Health Innovation Challenge Fund (HICF) funded VIRTU-2 project. He is an interventional cardiologist with a major interest in modelling coronary artery disease and percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). He spends half his life treating patients with coronary artery disease and the other three quarters researching into what could have been done better. Julian is proud to have worked with key members of this research team for nearly two decades. His role is to lead the project, recruit the patients, perform the procedures and help develop the model. His concept is that the angiogram for any patient anywhere in the world with coronary artery disease requiring revascularisation should have comprehensive modelling of their condition, which will provide all the information necessary to properly plan optimal treatment.

» Read more about Dr Julian Gunn, MA MBBChir MD MRCP

Professor Rod Hose, BSc PhD

Professor Rod Hose is Professor of Computational Biomechanics with a background in mathematics and over 35 years of experience in modelling and simulation. His research interests are primarily in the development of methods and workflows for the computational analysis of cardiovascular systems and in their translation into the clinic. Professor Hose is the principal investigator and scientific coordinator of the Virtual Physiological Human, VPH-Share framework.

» Read more about Professor Rod Hose

Professor Patricia Lawford, BSc PhD

Professor Pat Lawford is Professor of Physiological Modelling. Her main research interests are in cardiovascular biomechanics, cardiovascular implant devices and the use of computational models for the study of cardiovascular disease and its treatment. Her primary aim is the translation of modelling tools to clinical workflows and the use of predictive modelling in treatment planning.

» Read more about Professor Patricia Lawford

Dr Paul Morris, BMedSci MBChB MRCP

Dr Morris is a British Heart Foundation Clinical Research Training Fellow at the University of Sheffield and an Honorary Cardiology Registrar at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals. He is a clinical cardiology doctor with an interest in computational modelling of cardiovascular physiology in the context of coronary artery disease and this forms the basis of his PhD work.

» Read more about Dr Paul Morris

Dr Allison Morton, BMedSci MBChB PhD FRCP

Dr Allison Morton is a Consultant Cardiologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Sheffield. She has specialist expertise in the management of coronary artery disease, Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) and inherited cardiac conditions (ICC). Dr Morton has a long track record of clinical research and has been the principal investigator of clinical trials relating to the treatment of coronary artery disease. Her current research focus is on the application of computer modelling to delineate coronary artery disease and the genetic basis of coronary artery disease.

Dr Susan Smith, PhD BA

Dr Smith is the project Business Manager (Sheffield Healthcare Gateway) and is responsible for overseeing the business development for VIRTUheart™.  Susan is Lead Business Manager with the Sheffield Healthcare Gateway, a small team of Knowledge Exchange staff who work with academics to secure appropriate funding, ensure that IP is captured and  business partners engaged in liaison with IPGroup plc, the University of Sheffield's commercialisation partnerSusan has worked extensively with academics at the University of Sheffield and has significant experience in the biotech industry in the US and Germany. 

Miss Martina Sciola, MSc Biomedical engineering

Martina is from Sardinia, Italy. She graduated in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Cagliari (Bachelor degree) in 2010 and from the Polytechnic of Milan (Master degree) in 2013. 

She joined Sheffield University and the Department of Cardiovascular Science in 2014 as PhD student. Martina’s work is focused on developing models of hyperaemic coronary flow and flow reserve. Martina is particularly interested in representing dynamic changes in coronary physiology which occur during everyday, ‘real-life’ activities in individuals with coronary artery disease.

Mr Marco Frison, MSc Bioengineering

Mr Marco Frison is from Padua, Italy. After his Bachelor degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Padua, in 2010 he moved to the Polytechnic University of Milan where he obtained a MSc in Bioengineering. He joined the Medical Physics Group in the Department of Cardiovascular Science as Research Associate in 2014. His main role in VIRTUheart™ is in biomedical image processing and in developing methods for 3D analysis.

Dr Andrew Narracott, MPhys, PhD

Dr Andrew Narracott is a lecturer in the Medical Physics Group, Department of Cardiovascular Science. He completed a Masters degree in Physics in 1997 and a PhD in Medical Physics in 2002, the focus of which was the interaction between balloon catheters and coronary stents during percutaneous coronary intervention. His role within the VIRTUheart™ team is in the development of in vitro measurement systems which provide experimental validation of the computational models.

» Read more about Dr Andrew Narracott

Mr Jeroen Feher, MSc

Mr Feher obtained both his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Biomedical Engineering from Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands. His Masters degree focused on the development and analysis of lumped parameter and 1-dimensional haemodynamics models. After completing his Masters degree in 2014 and having sparked his interest in coronary physiology and disease, he joined the VIRTUheartTM team as a Research Associate. Jeroen is currently developing sensitivity analyses tools within the VPH-share project to support the VIRTUheart™ model and characterise the model uncertainty.

Dr. John Fenner, CPhys, MInstP

Dr John Fenner is a lecturer and medical physicist in the Department of Cardiovascular Science. Dr Fenner joined the University of Sheffield in 1996 from the Department of Clinical Physics and Bioengineering in Glasgow where he was Senior Physicist providing support to the Department of Cardiac Surgery in Glasgow Royal Infirmary. Dr Fenner is involved in a wide range of Medical Physics research related to radiation, simulation and validation. He is a major technical contributor to numerous EU projects and most recently led the Sheffield contribution to the data component of the Virtual Physiological Human (VPH) initiative. He is associate editor of the Journal of Medical Engineering and Technology.

Dr Fenner’s role within the VIRTUheart™ project is in the development of dedicated image analysis software tools.

» Read more about Dr. John Fenner

Miss Iwona Zwierzak, M.Sc

Miss ZwierzaK obtained her M.Sc. degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Technology, Wroclaw, Poland.  Following undergraduate study she worked as a Mechanical Engineer in the Research and Development Department in LG Electronics, Poland before moving to the Orthopaedic Institute Rizzoli in Bologna, Italy where she worked on human long bone micro-hardness. She joined the University of Sheffield in 2010 in order to work on the MeDDiCA project and obtain PhD, supported by a Marie Curie Initial Training network. The aim of her PhD was in vitro characterisation of stent deployment and local arterial strains. Iwona is a biomedical engineer.  Her role within VIRTUheart™ is in the experimental validation which supports the computational studies and developments.