Pioneering cardiologist from Thriplow awarded CBE in New Year’s Honours list after retiring from British Heart Foundation post

Peter Weissberg

Peter Weissberg - Credit: Archant

One of the medical profession’s leading pioneers in cardiovascular research has been recognised by the Queen in the New Year’s Honours list, it has just been announced.

Professor Peter Leslie Weissberg, from Thriplow near Royston, has been awarded an CBE in recognition of his services to medical research.

Prof Weissberg recently retired from his post as medical director at the British Heart Foundation.

BHF’s chief executive, Simon Gillespie, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that Professor Weissberg’s lifelong commitment to advancing heart disease research in the UK has been recognised by his award.

“As a BHF researcher, Prof Weissberg’s pioneering work established the University of Cambridge as a world-leading centre for cardiovascular research. As BHF medical director, Prof Weissberg led the significant expansion of our research programme, enabling some of the UK’s most talented scientists to make breakthroughs that are today saving and improving the lives of seven million heart patients in the UK, and tens of millions more worldwide.

“We congratulate Prof Weissberg on his honour and thank him for the unique contribution he has made to the fight against heart disease.”

Prior to his tenure as medical director, Prof Weissberg established the Department of Cardiovascular Research at the University of Cambridge and spent 10 years as the university’s first BHF Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine.

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After being notified of the award, Prof Weissberg said: “I am immensely proud of receiving this award which reflects the enormous impact the British Heart Foundation has had on cardiovascular research in the UK and beyond. It would not have come about without the collective effort of all who work at the BHF and, particularly, those people who donate their time and money so generously to allow the BHF to do its work. I feel honoured to have had the opportunity to be its medical director.”

Prof Weissberg’s research career, predominantly funded by the BHF, focused on understanding the processes that cause atherosclerosis – the formation of fatty plaques in the arteries that can result in a heart attack or stroke. This work set the stage for the development of new imaging techniques that are today helping cardiologists identify the plaques most likely to rupture and cause a heart attack.

As medical director, Prof Weissberg oversaw the expansion of BHF’s research funding portfolio from £40 million a year to more than £100m a year. This included the establishment of six BHF Centres of Research Excellence to foster collaboration amongst world-leading cardiovascular scientists at leading UK universities.

He also led the creation of three BHF Centres of Regenerative Medicine with the shared aim of finding a cure for heart failure.

Prof Weissberg was director of cardiology at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge from 1989 to 2004, and remained a consultant cardiologist at the hospital, alongside his role as BHF medical director, until 2015.