Funding Eureka moments


Kick-starting proof-of-concept research building a platform for wider innovation


What do we fund?

  1. Innovation Award Research Projects
  2. PhD Studentships and Research fellowships
  3. Cutting-edge equipment to facilitate the research project

Pioneering researchers need to be given the opportunity to scope new ideas and methods.

Research is expensive but the ability of the Foundation to provide seed funding remains a crucial catalyst that enables the WHR researchers to start new lines of truly innovative work.


WHR grant award 2020 funded by the Lorna and Yuti Chernajovsky Biomedical Research Foundation

Title: ‘New therapeutic targets for treating the failing heart in arthritis.’

Supervisors: Professor Mauro Perretti and Dr Dianne Cooper

Location: William Harvey Research Institute, Queen Mary University of London.

Cost: £94,008

Duration: 3 years

Start date: Autumn 2020  

Partner: William Harvey Research Foundation


Why study this?

People with rheumatoid arthritis have an increased risk of dying due to cardiovascular disease.  They are particularly susceptible to a type of heart failure, which means their heart does not relax and refill properly after beating. It is not clear whether current successful treatments for alleviating joint problems reduce the risk of developing heart failure.

What will the student be doing?

The student will identify the link between the systemic inflammation that arises as a result of rheumatoid arthritis and alterations in cardiac structure and function that lead to heart failure. The student will be using a newly developed arthritis model with similar heart failure features as those seen in humans to assess the effects of anti-inflammatory biological therapies on the heart at different stages of disease development and identify new targets for treatment through genetic screening.

What do they expect to achieve?

Heart disease in rheumatoid arthritis has not been a major focus of research in the past, but this study aims to identify whether heart failure can be prevented by existing treatments, as well as identification of potential new targets for drug development.

What could be the impact?

Identifying existing treatments that can help heart disease in rheumatoid arthritis would provide an immediate help for people with rheumatoid arthritis. New targets could open avenues for future treatments specific for the heart failure that typifies rheumatoid arthritis.


Recent WHR Grant Awards

  1. Dr Julie Borgel, a 12-month period for research on, "Trauma induced DNA methylation signatures - a novel prognostic biomarker and therapeutic target for post-traumatic acute and chronic immune dysfunction"
  2. Professor Francesco Dell’Accio, 12-month period for research on, "The mode of action of a new therapeutic target tyrosine kinase receptor in osteoarthritis"
  3. Dr Fiona Lewis, 12-month period for research on, "Exosomal microRNAs as diagnostic biomarkers of heart failure"
  4. Professor Mauro Perretti, 12-month period for research on, "The development and characterisation of pro-resolving therapeutics as novel anti-inflammatory drugs"
  5. Professor Chris Thiemermann, three-year period for research on, "The role of MIF in trauma-associated haemorrhagic shock"
  6. Dr Mathieu-Benoit Voisin, 12-month period for research on, "The investigation into the dynamics of neutrophil trafficking and function within the lymphatic system during the development of arthritis by multi-photon confocal microscopy"

WHR Grants Review Committee

Our Grant Review Committee ensures our modest grants are used to the best possible effect in credible research projects.  We are proud to have been awarded best practice in medical and health research peer review by the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC).

The Foundation's Grants Review Committee is responsible on behalf of the Board of Trustees for reviewing grant proposals and prioritising funding for specific research projects.

In supporting research in a manner that is consistent with the purpose, objectives and principles of the Foundation, the Grants Review Committee recommends to the Board of Trustees financial support for research that ensures the allocation of research funds achieves high quality research results and demonstrates to them that a robust mechanism of prioritising of financial support for projects underpins each decision.

It submits a report following its grant reviews to indicate the basis for its funding recommendations, including average scores for each grant, reasons underlying award decisions - positive and negative - and feedback to applicants.

See Terms of Reference and Conflict of Interest policy

Committee membership

Members of the Grants Review Committee appointed for 2020-22:

Associate Professor Mona Bajaj-Elliott, University College London

Professor Susan Brain, King's College London (Chair)
Dr Anthony Davenport, University of Cambridge

Professor Rod Flower, WHRF Trustee
Professor Derek Gilroy, University College London

Dr Francesca Gliubich, WHRF Trustee


As an AMRC member, WHRF supports the AMRC position statement on the use of animals in research, including:
(i) the principle of using animals in research when necessary to advance understanding and treatment of serious health conditions where there is no alternative that can be used; and
(ii) the 3Rs - to refine, reduce and replace the use of animals.



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