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IDRM team to take on the London to Brighton Bike Ride for the British Heart Foundation

IDRM PI and BHF Senior Fellow Associate Professor Sarah De Val will lead a team of researchers to take on the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) London to Brighton Bike Ride this June.

IDRM BHF Bike Ride Team in BHF Shirts (IDRM).jpg
L-R: Susann Bruche, Sarah De Val, Svanhild Nornes, Gillian Douglas and Helena Rodriguez-Caro.
Image Credit: Dorota Szumska-Bilska


The 2022 London to Brighton Bike Ride will mark the 45th anniversary of the event, returning after a two-year hiatus due to restrictions put in place for large scale events because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The BHF hopes to raise more than £2.8 million to help fund lifesaving research projects, including the work at IDRM.

IDRM Director Professor Paul Riley said:

“I’m delighted that the London to Brighton Bike Ride is back in the calendar, and I look forward to what is a fantastic event hosted by the BHF to try and give back some of the tremendous funding support I and my fellow researchers at the IDRM have received from the BHF over many years”

Our BHF funded institute works across a number of research projects including tissue engineering, heart imaging, genetics, and population sciences. Our vital research helps the BHF on its mission to find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat heart and circulatory diseases, which kills one person every three minutes in the UK.

Earlier this year, Associate Professor Sarah De Val’s research project was selected by the BHF as one of the cutting-edge research projects into regenerative medicine that will receive funding from the 2022 TCS London Marathon. The De Val Group’s goal is to build a comprehensive picture of how different molecules work together in the heart to activate either blood or lymphatic vessel growth.  This could help to build a better picture of how different cells work together in the heart and lead to new treatments that supports recovery after a heart attack and reduces the damage they cause to the heart muscle.

Prof De Val said:

“My group studies the regulation of blood and lymphatic vessel development, and how the regulatory pathways respond during injury, such as a heart attack. In particular, we focus on enhancers, the on off switches of genes, in order to identify which proteins, activate the correct pattern of blood and lymphatic vessel growth during tissue repair.”

Prof De Val and her colleagues will join around 14,000 other cyclists of all abilities for the Bike Ride on Sunday 19 June. Participants will cycle the 54-mile route starting at Clapham Common, before riding through the beautiful Surrey and Sussex countryside and crossing the finishing line on Brighton’s famous seafront. 

Dr Helena Rodriguez Caro, an IDRM postdoctoral research scientist who is one of the team members taking part in the event, said:

“I am so excited to participate in the London to Brighton Bike Ride. I rarely cycle long-distances, and 54 miles is going to be a thrilling challenge for a brilliant cause. What better way to show support for The British Heart Foundation and its mission than by participating in an activity good for the cardiovascular health. The team is very keen on raising funds for the BHF and is actively crowdfunding. We are busy preparing and sharing tips between us. Learning together and getting into our training. We are taking spinning lessons and doing longer bike rides, such high motivation!”

In addition to Prof De Val and Dr Rogriguez Caro, The IDRM team includes postdoctoral research scientists Drs Susann Bruche, Svanhild Nornes, Jacinta Kalisch Smith, DPhil student Helen Potts, and Prof De Val's collaborator Associate Professor Gillian Douglas.

Lee Sumner, London to Brighton Event Manager at the BHF, said: 

“We’re so excited that London to Brighton is back. It is amazing to hear that our incredible BHF funded researchers from Oxford University will be taking part. The work the De Val team at IDRM do is vital and could one day lead to new treatments for the 1 in 5 people who suffer a heart attack each year. We cannot wait to cheer them on with all the other cyclists taking part in the event as they heroically pedal the 54 miles from London to Brighton. It’s all in the name of raising money for the BHF’s life saving research.” 

To support the team and donate to the British Heart Foundation, visit the Teams' pages on JustGiving:

Sarah's BHF London to Brighton Bike Ride Sponsorship page!

Helena, Svanhild and Helena's page: "Advocating for better cardiovascular health".

Sarah, Susann, Helena and Svanhild fundraising
L-R: Sarah De Val, Susann Bruche, Helena Rodriguez Caro, and Svanhild Nornes. Image Credit: Lucija Fleisinger


To sign up and take part in the 2022 BHF London to Brighton Bike Ride visit the BHF L2B 2022 website.

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