Projects per year
First in man Clinical Trials in adult Cardiac Surgery
Developmental and Regulatory Preclinical Trials at NHS standards
Developing new CV Drugs and Biomedical Devices
Vascular Tissue Engineering, Diabetes, Stem Cells and Myocardial Repair
Mitral Valve Repair, Beating Heart Coronary Surgery.
Professor Ascione is the Chair of Cardiac Surgery & Translational Research and the Founder and Director of the Translational Biomedical Research Centre (TBRC) at the University of Bristol. He is also a Consultant Adult Cardiac Surgeon at the Bristol Heart Institute (BHI) University Hospital Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, Bristol, UK.
He has a long standing academic interest in translational cardiovascular research, clinical trials in adult cardiac surgery, global cardiovascular leadership, and more recently in the preclinical development/testing of new cardiovascular drugs and biomedical devices at NHS standards. The ultimate goal of his research is impact, patient benefit, and commercialisation.
He has been an active NHS Consultant Cardiac Surgeon since August 2002 (>3500 cardiothoracic procedures as Chief Surgeon; survival 98.7%) with national and international expertise in beating heart coronary artery bypass grafting, mitral valve repair, aortic valve replacement and redo cardiac surgery.
He was appointed Consultant Senior Lecturer in Cardiac in 2002, promoted to Reader in 2006, and to Professor in 2010. He has held senior leadership roles in both University and NHS Institutions and internationally. Examples include: 1. Chair of the University BHI Research Board (2010-13 elected); 3.Clinical Director of BHI NHS Hospital (2013-15); 4. Founder and Director of the advanced TBRC preclinical research facility since 2013; 5.Member of the Nucleus of the Cardiovascular Working Group of the European Society of Cardiology (2010-15); 6.Member of the Academy of the European Association of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery since 2009; 7. Member of the Foundation for Polish Science International Interdisciplinary Panel of Experts; 8.Member of the Novel and Emerging Technologies (NET) Grants Committee (Heart Research UK); 9. Member of Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Associate Peer Review College.
He has been the recipient of the NHS Clinical Excellence Silver Award since 2013 (renewed for 2018-23), Clinical Excellence Bronze Award for 2010-13, the Garfield Weston Trust Senior Lectureship in Cardiac Surgery (2003-08), the Fellowship ad eundeum by the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 2004, the Master of Surgery with University of Bristol in 2002, the John Parker Gold Medal by the UK Society of Cardiothoracic Surgeons in 2001, and he was part of the Bristol team awarded the “Surgical Team of Year” Prize by UK Hospital Doctors in 2005.
Prof Ascione has grants and capital bid awards as PI or co-PI in excess of £49M based on an extensive national and international network. Of these, £8.5M are BHF grant awards he holds as PI or co-PI since 2012. In addition, he has > 240 publications including 183 Google Scholar-censed publications in peer-reviewed Journals, 7 book chapters, 28 refereed Conference Contributions, 21 Reviews and Editorials, > 40 publications reports in the international media/internet. His publications have inspired others with > 6950 citations; H-Index: 44. He have trained >35 clinical and basic scientists globally.
Pre-Clinical Research to develop and test new Drug and Devices
Prof Ascione is developing and testing new cardiovascular drugs and biomedical devices in preclinical models operated at NHS standards. This work is carried out at TBRC, a GLP MHRA accredited research facility that he founded in 2013 and that he now leads as Director (http://www.bristol.ac.uk/health-sciences/research/tbrc/). He is the academic Clinical Lead of >10 collaborative national/international developmental projects translating the following novel treatments: two CV drugs to treat heart attack, four new stem cell types for cardiac repair, a new heart valve, 4 configurations of tissue engineered vascular constructs for coronary, carotid, femoral, and aortic applications, a new platelets analyser and an innovative smart robotic instrumentations to enhance keyhole surgery. Prof Ascione’s portfolio of developmental CV research on new drugs and devices is based on total grant award as PI or co-PI of £11.7M, of which £3.1M is for working packages he leads directly at TBRC.
Drugs and Devices being currently developed under Prof Ascione clinical leadership:
2018-21: Device: Testing a novel vascular construct made from pluripotent stem cells and arterial scaffolds for the treatment of peripheral arterial disease. MRC Reg Med: £340k
2018-21: Drug: Testing 11βHSD1 inhibition during acute MI to prevent heart failure. BHF TA £335k (with Astrazeneca)
2017-21: Devices: Testing three pro-angiogenic human stem cell types following balloon MI as part of the new BHF Centre for Vascular Regeneration –Edinburgh, Bristol, Imperial College, King’s College . BHF £2.5M
2017-21: Devices: Testing a tissue engineered regenerative patch for myocardial repair in a model of acute MI as part of the new BHF Centre for Cardiac Regeneration – Imperial College, Nottingham, Westminster, Glasgow. BHF £2.5M
2017-20: Device: Testing tissue engineered arterialised vein as vascular graft for bypass coronary surgery. BHF £ 270k
2018-20: Device: Testing a novel polymeric heart valve made from anisotropic nanocomposites in a model of open heart cardiac surgery. *BHF SPG £750k
2016-20: Device: Developing a novel SMart weArable Robotic Teleoperated Surgical instrumentation to enhance keyhole surgery. * EC Horizon 2020; £3.5M (Cybernetix, Optivent, Hypertech-Innovations).
2015-18: Drug: Testing the novel MitoSNO drug as a new therapy for acute myocardial infarct. DPFS MRC £790k (Otago Innovation)
2013-17: Device: Development of a novel clinical platelet analyser. NIHR i4i: £635,450
2015-18: Device: Testing tissue engineered small vascular grafts made from biodegradable polymers for the treatment of coronary and peripheral vascular disease. UoB Alumni £ 120k
Research Grant and Capital Bid Awards:
Prof Ascione has a total awarded funding as PI or co-PI in excess of £49M based on an extensive national and international network.Of these, £8.5M are BHF grants he holds as PI or co-PI since 2012. A selection of all grants held since 2012 includes:
2018-21: MRC Reg Med: Vascular constructs using human pluripotent stem cells in the therapy of peripheral arterial disease. PI: G Foldes, co-PIs: R Ascione, S Harding. MRC £340,916
2018-2021: BHF Translational Award: 11βHSD1 inhibition (ASTRAZENECA): a distinctive acute-MI intervention for promotion of peri-infarct vascularization, reduction of infarct expansion and prevention of heart failure. PI G Gray, co-PIs: R Ascione, N Mills, A Whittaker, S Webster, B Walker. BHF £333.193
2017-2021: BHF Centre for Vascular Regeneration. PI: A Baker, co-PIs: R Ascione, M Brittan, C Emanueli, N Henderson, P Madeddu, M Mayr, N Mills, A Randi, A Shah. BHF £2.5M
2017-2020: Arterial bioengineering of decellularised human saphenous veins to reduce early graft thrombosis and improve long-term patency rate. PI R Ascione; co-PIs J Johnson, S George. BHF £268,283
2017-2020: BHF 4-YEAR PhD PROGRAMME: Integrative Cardiovascular Science. PI: A Poole; co-PIs: R Ascione, M Cannell, M Caputo, G Davey-Smith, T Gaunt, S George, GD Angelini, C Emanueli, N Thompson, J Hancox, I Hers, D Lawlor, P Madeddu, D Murphy, J Paton. BHF: £2.5M
2017-2019: Call H2020-ICT-2016-1; SMart weArable Robotic Teleoperated Surgery (SmartSurg). PI S Dogramadzi; co-PIs R Ascione, D Ioannidis, I Mariolis, G Ferrigno, E De Momi, A Koupparis, O Decobello, I Papacostas; Companies: Cybernetix, Optivent, Hypertech-Innovations. EU Horizon 2020: £3.5M
2016: GW4 –AFA-011 Initiator: Pre-clinical Translational Biomedical Research Network. PI R Ascione; co-PIs C Marshall, T Perry, J Terry. GW4: £20,000 (+£12k from Univ Bath)
2016: Determination of the SK channel composition contributing to atrial action potential duration. PI A Marrion; co-PIs R Ascione, A James, J Hancox. BHF: £70,133
2015-19: A Polymeric Prosthetic Heart Valve from anisotropic nanocomposites– device optimisation and in vivo testing. PI G Moggridge; co-PIs R Ascione, MS Suleiman, N Sukumaran, A Zaman. BHF SG: £ 755,030
2015-18: Funding toward enhancing the new Translational Biomedical Research Centre (TBRC). Infrastructure Grant. PI R Ascione; BHF: £998,912
2015-18: Selective S-nitrosation of mitochondrial complex I by MitoSNO as a new therapy for cardiac ischaemia-reperfusion injury. PI M Murphy; co-PIs R Ascione, T Krieg, A Mander, R Smith. DPFS MRC: £792,560 (Otago Innovations)
2015-18: Targets and mechanisms of SUMOylation-mediated cardioprotection during ischemia and reperfusion injury. PI J Henley; Co-PIs: R Ascione, A Halestrap, C Guo. BHF: £ 293,675
2013-15: Pre-clinical Translational Biomedical Centre. Capital bid. PI R Ascione; University of Bristol: £2.54M
2013-16: Pre-clinical in-vivo functional imaging for translational Regenerative Medicine. Capital bid. PI R Ascione; Co-PIs: P Madeddu, P Martin, N Scolding, J Price. MRC: £2.77M http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk/projects?ref=MR/L012723/1
2013-17: Development of a novel clinical platelet analyser. PI A Poole; Co-PIs R Ascione, J Day, A Munford, BC Reeves. NIHR i4i: £635,450
2013-18: SPHERE – A Sensor Platform for Healthcare in a Residential Environment. PI Ian Craddock;Co-PIs R Ascione, A Blom, A Ness, M Munafo, A Ashburn, et al,. EPSRC IRC £12M (Plus £3M from Toshiba)
2013-16: Risk-profiled characterisation of a new stem cell type derived from human pericardial adipose tissue. PI R Ascione. Co-PI: W Kafianah. NIHR-BRU PhD £102k
2014-17: Bioengineering a small vascular graft with biodegradable polymers for arterial clinical applications. PI R Ascione; Co-PIs S George. UoB Alumni: 4 years PhD studentship £121,450k
2014-17: Arterialisation of a human saphenous vein extracellular matrix in a dynamic bioreactor and in-vivo testing. PI R Ascione; Co-PIs S George. Malaysia Government: 4 years PhD studentship £118,630k
2012-13: Development of a novel clinical platelet analyser. PI A Poole; Co-PIs R Ascione, J Day, A Munford. NHS FSF Bristol: £20k
2012: Translational Biomedical Research Centre – phase I Capital Bid. PI R Ascione; University of Bristol: £25k
2012-15: Mitochondrial DNA copy number as phenotypic trait for human diseases in genetic epidemiological studies. PI S Rodriguez; Co-PIs R Ascione, D Lawlor, I Day, T Gaunt, S Ring, T Palmer. MRC £391,296.
2012-15: Preclinical trial with human pericyte progenitors in a large animal model of myocardial infarction.PI P Madeddu; Co-PIs R Ascione, C Emanueli, GD Angelini. BHF £363,500.
2012-17: Biomedical Research Unit in Cardiovascular Disease. PI GD Angelini; Co-PIs R Ascione, P Madeddu, M Caputo, A Baumbach, A Newby, BC Reeves. NIHR £6.9M
2007-13: Transplantation of enriched autologous bone marrow derived CD 133pos cells in patients having coronary surgery after acute STEMI: a double blind placebo-controlled trial (TransACT 1). PI R Ascione; co-PIs P Wilde, M Guttridge, P Kendall, BC Reeves; BHF PG £ 253,276
2008-12: Biomedical Research Unit in Cardiovascular Disease. PI GD Angelini; Co-PIs R Ascione, P Madeddu, A Newby, P Wilde, BC Reeves. NIHR £5.4M.
National/International Emerging Biomedical Technologies Advisory/Grants Boards:
Since 2017: Novel and Emerging Technologies (NET) Grants Commitee - Heart Research UK (Invited)
Since 2017: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Associate Peer Review College (Invited)
2017: Advisory Board for Cardiac Surgery for Simon Kucher Skp (invited)
Since 2016: International Review College for the Italian Ministry of Health – MIUR (Invited)
Since 2016: Foundation for the Polish Science Interdisciplinary Panel of Experts (Invited)
2016: Advisory Board in Cardiac Surgery for Novartis (Invited)
2012 to date: Adviser of NICE on aspects related to my clinical area of expertise (Invited)
Since 2009: Academy European Association of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery
2010-14: Nucleus Cardiovascular Working Group of the European Society of Cardiology
2008-2014: Editorial Board Cochrane Heart Group;
2005-10: Editorial Board of Journal of Cardiac Surgery
Consultant Adult Cardiac Surgeon, University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust
1 Aug 2002 → …
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Targeting neuro-immune systems to achieve cardiac tissue repair following myocardial infarction: A review of therapeutic approaches from in-vivo preclinical to clinical studiesSmith, S. A. & Ascione, R., 1 May 2023, In: Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 245, 12 p., 108397.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article (Academic Journal) › peer-reviewOpen Access
A novel small diameter nanotextile arterial graft is associated with surgical feasibility and safety and increased transmural endothelial ingrowth in pigJosef, J., Bruno, V. D., Sulaiman, N., Ward, A., Johnson, T. W., Baby, H. M., Nair, S. V., Menon, D., George, S. J. & Ascione, R., 8 Feb 2022, In: Journal of Nanobiotechnology. 20, 1, p. 1-13 13 p., 71.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article (Academic Journal) › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile4 Citations (Scopus)52 Downloads (Pure)
Correction to: A novel small diameter nanotextile arterial graft is associated with surgical feasibility and safety and increased transmural endothelial ingrowth in pigJoseph, J., Bruno, V. D., Sulaiman, N., Ward, A., Johnson, T. W., Baby, H. M., Nair, S. V., Menon, D., George, S. J., Ascione, R., Varma, P. K. & Jose, R., 2 Apr 2022, In: Journal of Nanobiotechnology. 20, 1, p. 173 173.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Comment/debate (Academic Journal) › peer-reviewOpen Access
Dataset for "Comparison of the within-reader and inter-vendor agreement of left ventricular circumferential strains and volume indices derived from cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging"
Cookson, A. (Creator), Odunmbaku-Mansell, D. (Creator), Fraser, K. (Creator), Gill, R. (Creator), Ascione, R. (Creator), Bruno, V. D. (Creator), Frank, E. (Contributor), Kelly, N. S. (Contributor), Agostinho Hernandez, B. (Contributor), Fletcher, J. (Contributor), Bartlett, J. (Contributor), Sammut, E. (Contributor), Johnson, T. W. (Contributor) & Chiribiri, A. (Contributor), University of Bath, 15 Dec 2020
Gadeberg, H. C. (Contributor), Bond, R. C. (Contributor), Kong, C. H. T. (Contributor), Chanoit, G. P. (Contributor), Ascione, R. (Contributor), Cannell, M. B. (Contributor) & James, A. F. (Contributor), Dryad, 1 Jun 2017