David J BEECH
My research addresses the calcium-permeable and sodium-permeable non-selective cationic channels of mammalian cells, the purposes these mechanisms serve and whether they can be exploited for therapeutic benefit. Specifically I am interested in the idea that certain types of channel are expressed in and around blood vessels in order to sense physical and chemical factors and couple them to remodelling of blood flow. I think the mechanisms are pivotal in major areas of mammalian biology and tractable as routes to new drugs for the treatment of certain types of cardiovascular disease and other non-communicable diseases which are prevalent in many societies globally. I am particularly focussed on Orai1, Piezo1 and TRPC1/4/5 channels.
I originally read Pharmacology at the University of Manchester UK before studying for a PhD in Professor Tom Bolton’s lab at George’s London. I then moved to the University of Washington Seattle for postdoctoral research with Professor Bertil Hille before being awarded one of the first Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Career Development Fellowships in 1990, initially in London and then Leeds where I became professor in 2000. I served as Senior Editor for the Journal of Physiology, was Head of the Department of Biomedical Sciences for 3 years and, in 2007, founded and directed Leeds’s first constitutional structure for all cardiovascular research at Leeds (http://www.cardiovascular.leeds.ac.uk/). I am also Director of the Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine, which is home to about 200 staff members, and Director of Leeds’s BHF 4-Year PhD Programme in Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes. I have trained 41 postgraduate research students, published 135 peer-reviewed articles including in Nature and Nature-sister journals, delivered 74 invited lectures at conferences worldwide, was elected to Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2013 and became Wellcome Trust Investigator in 2016.