Speaker Biographies AICC 2023
Dr Jan Till - Past-President of AICC and Consultant Paediatric Electrophysiologist (London)
Jan is current president of the AICC, having served as a council member for some years. She is passionate about raising awareness and identifying ways in which we can improve care of patients and families living their lives with an ICC. Her major interest is device treatment, genetics and management of Channelopathies.
Jan works at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London, where she helped build the inherited cardiac conditions unit - as a consultant in congenital electrophysiology. She is Co-Director of Children's services at the Trust, and leads in Channelopathies, caring for both adults and children with channelopathies.
Dr Catherine Mercer - AICC Secretary and Consultant Clinical Geneticist (Southampton)
Dr Mercer is a Consultant Clinical Geneticist at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust and is the lead clinician for Cardiac Genetics across the Wessex region. Dr Mercer has developed the Cardiac Genetics Service across the region to increase clinical capacity and ensure equity of patient access across the region. In addition, Dr Mercer was the Rare Disease Lead for the 100,000 Genomes Project in Wessex, involved in driving the delivery of this NHS transformational project. While most passionate about service delivery, she also has a research background with a PhD in the molecular genetic causes of congenital heart disease, specifically left ventricular outflow tract obstruction. She was elected as Secretary for the AICC in July 2019.
Melanie Watson – Treasurer and Consultant Genetic Counsellor (Southampton)
Melanie Watson is a Consultant Genetic Counsellor & Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust and is Genetic Counsellor Lead for ICC across the Wessex region. She trained at Kings College, London, specialising in Cardiothoracics at the Royal Brompton Hospital. She went on to study Psychology & joined the Psychology & Genetics research group at KCL, where she was awarded a Wellcome Trust PhD studentship in biomedical ethics: Genetics in Society. This sparked an interest in genetics that led to her career in Genetic counselling. Melanie also served on the ICC and Familial Hypercholesterolaemia National Steering groups. She is currently Joint National Clinical Lead for the GMSA Familial Hypercholesterolaemia Transformational Project. She was elected Treasurer for the AICC in July 2020.
Dr John Dean - Consultant Clinical Geneticist (Aberdeen)
John Dean is a Consultant in Clinical Genetics for NHS Grampian, based in Aberdeen. He is also Joint Lead Clinician for the Network for Inherited Cardiac Conditions Scotland.
His special interests include Long QT syndrome, Marfan Syndrome and the molecular investigation of Sudden Cardiac Death. He is Emeritus Reader in Medicine at the University of Aberdeen.
Dr Dimitra Antonakaki - Consultant Cardiologist & AICC Trainee Representative (Oxford)
Dimitra is a Consultant Cardiologist with a specialist interest in inherited and acquired cardiac conditions (ICCs) and multimodality cardiovascular imaging based at the Oxford Heart Centre.
She graduated with honours from the University of Athens in Greece and subsequently completed her Medical and Cardiology training in London. She previously obtained a competitive scholarship from St George's University of London where she completed an MSc (with distinction) in Sports Cardiology. Nationally, Dimitra sits on the Council of the Association of Inherited Cardiovascular Conditions (AICC). Her role as the Trainee Representative for the AICC enables her to work closely with the BJCA to ensure equitable access to training for all in ICCs.
Dr Stephen Page - Consultant Cardiologist & Electrophysiologist (Leeds)
Stephen Page is a Consultant Cardiologist & Electrophysiologist at Leeds General Infirmary. He trained in Newcastle before moving to London to train as a cardiologist. His MD in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy at The Heart Hospital introduced him to the world of inherited cardiac conditions, before training in electrophysiology and inherited arrhythmia syndromes at Barts.
Steve now leads the Inherited Cardiovascular Conditions Service in Leeds. His main focus is on clinical service development but he is research active with established links with Imperial College and St George’s University.
Kate Thomson - Allied Health Professional - Clinical Scientist (Oxford)
Kate is an experienced Clinical Scientist and a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists. She has specialised in inherited cardiac conditions for over 17 years, and is the lead for inherited cardiac disorders in the Oxford Medical Genetics Laboratory (OMGL). She recently completed a DPhil in Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Oxford, where her research focused on the genetic basis of inherited cardiomyopathies.
Rachel Walker – ICC Nurse Specialist (Sheffield)
Rachel has 23 years experience working in within cardiology, most recently as ICC nurse specialist in the South Yorkshire Regional ICC service for the last 13 years. Her long experience of running nurse-led clinics has given her an intimate understanding of the needs of ICC patients and their families and the unique nature of the care they need. Her role was initially funded by Cardiomyopathy UK and subsequently she had the opportunity to work for their helpline for a number of years. This gave her an appreciation of the variations in the availability of ICC care throughout the country and the need for a National approach to its management. Although Rachel works with all ICCs, she has a particular interest in heart muscle disease.
Dr Eleanor Wicks - Consultant Cardiologist (Oxford)
Eleanor leads the Oxford ICC service. She has longstanding specialist interests in inherited and acquired (including inflammatory) conditions, genomics, heart failure and multimodality imaging. She studied Medicine at the University of Edinburgh. After qualifying in 2004, she trained in General Medicine, gaining membership of the Royal College of Physicians in 2009 and completed her general cardiology training at Barts Heart Centre, London. She was appointed as a Consultant Cardiologist with dual accreditation in General Medicine in 2016 and moved to Oxford in 2017. Eleanor harnesses clinical and academic synergy via collaborative networks to help define disease mechanisms and ensure the translation of novel molecular biological and clinical research approaches into clinical practice. She utilises state-of-the-art genomics and imaging for rich phenotyping to help reveal the molecular, imaging and genetic basis of inherited and acquired heart diseases in search of improved diagnoses, risk stratification and the exploration of potential therapeutic targets in the hope of delivering personalised therapy with substantial benefits for patients.
Dr Nora Shannon - Consultant Clinical Geneticist (Nottingham)
Nora Shannon is a Consultant Clinical Geneticist in the Nottingham Clinical Genetics Service. She was involved in setting up Inherited Cardiac Conditions Clinics in both Birmingham and Nottingham and is the Genetics Lead for the Nottingham ICC Service covering Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Derbyshire. She has an interest in service delivery and design and has particularly worked to improve access to genetic testing for families with SADS in the region. Her current research interests include factors which affect access to screening in families with aortic aneurysms.
Dr Claire Turner - Consultant Clinical Geneticist (Devon & Exeter)
Claire is a Consultant Clinical Geneticist, appointed to the Peninsula service in 2010, and is the genetics lead for the regional Inherited Cardiac Conditions service. Her MD, awarded in 2013, reflected a laboratory based molecular project on imprinting disorders. She has a Postgraduate Certificate in Medical Education, awarded in 2009 and is the lead for teaching Clinical Genetics at the University of Exeter Medical School. She has numerous publications in the field of Clinical Genetics, including in inherited cardiac conditions.
Prof Gerry Carr-White - Consultant Cardiologist (London)
Professor Gerald Carr-White was the Clinical Lead for heart failure and inherited diseases at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust for 14 years. He is now the Joint Medical Director of the cardiovascular, respiratory and critical care unit. After qualifying from St George's Hospital with University of London honours in Medicine, Gerald trained in general medicine at the Brompton, Hammersmith and St Mary's hospitals before becoming a member of the Royal College of Physicians in 1996. He then finished a PhD in the mechanics of ventricular function from the Brompton Hospital in 2000, working with Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub and Dr Derek Gibson. His specialist cardiology training was at the Brompton and Guy's and St Thomas' hospitals. He finished his higher certification in both cardiology and general medicine in 2006.
Gerald has sat on the 2 main national leadership groups for cardiology, helping develop regional and national guidelines and service specifications for NHS England. He is currently one of 2 cardiologists sitting on the pan-london oversight board for strategy, patient pathways and covid management and recovery. Gerald is the vice president for Cardiomyopathy UK, leading patient education events across the country, and is an elected member of the national association of inherited cardiac diseases. He is the network clinical lead for both King's Health Partners and the NHS England South London Cardiac Network, coordinating patient pathways across a population of 8 million people. Alongside his clinical work, Gerald is a Professor in heart failure and inherited diseases at King's College London, and lectures both nationally and internationally. He has published over 120 peer-reviewed articles in medical journals in the fields of heart failure, inherited cardiac diseases, cardiac imaging and valve disease, and has been granted over 7 million pounds in research grant income.
Joseph Westaby - Consultant Pathologist (London)
Dr Joseph Westaby is an NIHR Clinical Lecturer in Cardiovascular Pathology at St George’s University of London and the South London Deanery. He studied Graduate Entry Medicine at The University of Nottingham and has trained in London since. He undertook an Academic Clinical Fellowship and PhD in the Cardiac Risk in the Young Cardiovascular Pathology Laboratories. His primary research interest is Sudden Cardiac Death. He also undertakes coronial autopsies for the Inner West London Coroner.
Dr Rachel Bastiaenen - Consultant Cardiologist (London)
Rachel is a Consultant Cardiologist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust where she is the Clinical Lead for Inherited Cardiac Conditions. She is also an Honorary Senior Lecturer at King’s College London. She studied at Peterhouse Cambridge and Imperial College London. She completed Cardiology training in the London Deanery and a fellowship in Vancouver. Her PhD was awarded from St George’s University of London and involved non-invasive risk stratification of patients with cardiomyopathy. Her clinical and research interests focus on inherited arrhythmia syndromes, inherited cardiomyopathies and cardiac MRI.
Stephanie Oates - Genetic Counsellor (London)
Steph is the current GC representative for the AICC Council. She has 15 years’ experience in cardiac genetics, in Oxford and London, as well as Auckland, New Zealand. She is currently working at Great Ormond Street Hospital as the genetic counsellor for the paediatric cardiology department.
Steph has a wide range of experience in the clinical setting, research, teaching, adults and paediatrics as well as charity work. Her main focus is Cardiomyopathies and Arrhythmias and promoting the unique contributions genetic counsellors can make in improving patient care, both pre and post genetic testing.
Dr Luke Starling - Paediatric Cardiologist (London)
Luke Starling is a Consultant Paediatric Cardiologist, specialising in Inherited Cardiovascular Diseases. He leads the Inherited Arrhythmia Service at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children (GOSH) and has a particular interest in ion channel disease and sudden cardiac death. He has established a novel neurocardiac channelopathies Service and a local left cardiac sympathetic denervation (LCSD) programme. He combines his role in inherited cardiovascular diseases with general paediatric cardiology, including complete acute on-call commitments. Dr Starling studied medicine at University College London and then began training in Paediatrics in London and the southwest of England, before undertaking training in Paediatric Cardiology at GOSH and The Royal Brompton Hospital, including further sub-specialist training in electrophysiology and inherited cardiac conditions. Dr Starling knows deep down that England cannot possibly win both the cricket and football World Cups in the same year – but he would never admit to this in public.
The AICC aims to drive forward clinical standards for ICCs through education, national guidance and networks of care which facilitate equitable access to quality care irrespective of postcode.
Guidelines, Papers and Publications
The AICC hopes to publish National guidelines on the management of AICCs to facilitate the benchmarking of quality standards across the UK for ICCs. It endorses peer reviewed publications, reviews and scientific papers.
The AICC hopes to promote innovative research and to bring together partners to pioneer novel research in this field of cardiology and to translate these findings back into clinical practice.
Education and Training opportunities
The AICC is keen to impart knowledge to help others learn and excel. Our educational activities aim to train the next generation of doctors to ensure that patients and their families with ICCs receive the very best of care they deserve.
I would like to thank the AICC for an excellent conference which was inspiring and educational.
Thank you for the opportunity to be part of the AICC journey.
I can't begin to thank you enough for everything you have done to help improve care for families such as ours.
A massive thank you for signposting us to the critical information.