Imperial receives £10M donation to propel heart and lung research

13 Jun 2024 | Network Updates | Update from Imperial College London
These updates are republished press releases and communications from members of the Science|Business Network

A donation from philanthropist Dr Victor Dahdaleh will take Imperial’s heart and lung research to the next level, creating a new graduate centre.

The gift of over £10 million will support the refurbishment of the Dr Victor Phillip Dahdaleh Building – a new home for world-changing lung research at Imperial’s Hammersmith Hospital Campus – and create the Dr Victor Phillip Dahdaleh Graduate Centre for Respiratory and Cardiac Sciences at the National Heart and Lung Institute (NHLI). A further gift will also establish Dr Victor Phillip Dahdaleh Graduate Fellowships over the next three years.

Around 6.4 million people are living with cardiovascular disease in England, while heart and circulatory diseases cause more than 25 per cent of all deaths in England, according to data from the British Heart FoundationNHS figures also show that respiratory disease affects one in five people and is the third biggest cause of death in England, behind only cancer and cardiovascular disease.

The refurbished building will offer more than 3,500 square metres of cutting-edge research and teaching facilities for Imperial researchers, who have previously been dispersed across multiple sites. Co-locating the majority of Imperial’s cardiac and respiratory specialists in this way will enable deeper collaboration within the NHLI, ultimately leading to new advances in the field, and building on previous advances in respiratory disease treatment developed at the Institute.

The proximity of this new base to Imperial’s White City Campus also opens the opportunity for collaboration with researchers, businesses and entrepreneurs within the thriving life sciences ecosystem in this part of west London.

Fellowship support

The NHLI will continue conversations with Dr Dahdaleh to discuss ways to enhance the Graduate Fellowship offer together in a more permanent way. Dr Dahdaleh’s ambition is to endow £2.5m for fellowships which through matching secured by or from Imperial would generate the future leaders in respiratory and cardiac sciences research. Imperial would welcome this additional support for its potential to amplify the impact of Dr Dahdaleh’s significant £10m gift which co-locates the majority of our respiratory and cardiac scientists within the Hammersmith Campus.

Dr Dahdaleh is a leading Canadian entrepreneur and philanthropist whose charitable work has supported education, health-related research and social and economic development in countries including the UK and Canada. For over 20 years, Dr Dahdaleh has supported research and scholarships in the areas of cardiology and respiratory sciences at Imperial and the NHLI.

The Victor Phillip Dahdaleh Charitable Foundation is a global charitable organisation which focuses on supporting health, education, and social and economic development around the world.

Dr Dahdaleh said: “The Victor Phillip Dahdaleh Charitable Foundation is proud to continue its support of and association with Imperial through these latest gifts to the NHLI to promote respiratory science and cardiology.

“We are delighted that we can support a new home for respiratory science at Imperial, bringing it together with cardiology for the first time. Through our support here and at other leading institutions, we hope to make a sustained and impactful difference through philanthropy towards ending diseases of the heart and lungs that affect so many people.

“The new Graduate Centre and associated Graduate Fellowships will also continue our long and celebrated history of supporting people to further their education in these important areas of research.”

Professor Hugh Brady, President of Imperial College London, said: “From transforming cystic fibrosis treatment to leading trials that have made asthma more manageable, Imperial’s National Heart & Lung Institute has helped improve the lives of millions of people with cardiac and respiratory conditions. 

“We are extremely grateful to the Victor Phillip Dahdaleh Charitable Foundation for this generous donation towards the refurbishment of the Dr Victor Phillip Dahdaleh Building, and the new Graduate Centre and Graduate Fellowships for respiratory science and cardiology.

“The new home for our lung researchers will make it easier for scientists and clinicians to collaborate and to make advances that transform the lives of people with respiratory conditions around the world.”

Professor Clare Lloyd, Interim Head of NHLI, said: “We are delighted to receive this gift that will fund a refurbished building for our lung researchers and a new Graduate Centre for Respiratory and Cardiac Sciences at the Hammersmith Campus. This gift will enable us to consolidate the majority of our respiratory scientists under one roof, locating us next to our NHLI and Faculty colleagues already on the Hammersmith Campus. 

“This opportunity will drive collaboration and multidisciplinary projects as well as providing fantastic spaces for us to teach, learn and socialise. Ultimately, this will help us train the next generation of researchers and will facilitate our work addressing some of the biggest challenges in cardiac and respiratory health.”

The donation follows the launch of Imperial’s new Science for Humanity strategy, which aims to maximise Imperial’s potential as a global force for good. The strategy includes ambitious plans for the development of the Imperial WestTech Corridor – a unique ecosystem of innovation assets across West London, including the Hammersmith Hospital Campus, that will act as a powerful engine for investment, inclusive economic growth and job creation. 

Exceptional heart and lung research

The NHLI is one of the world’s leading centres for heart, lung and vascular research. It contains more than 500 staff who work alongside international partners to deliver exceptional research, development and education in cardiovascular and respiratory science.

Many of the most significant advances in the worldwide treatment of heart and lung diseases have come from NHLI’s work. Examples include clinical trials that demonstrated the efficacy of steroid inhalers for asthma – a treatment that is now routine and has made the condition manageable for millions – and designing and running trials of a triple-drug therapy for cystic fibrosis that offers children born with the disease a better, healthier future.

Imperial has been undertaking a complete refurbishment of a six-storey building at the Hammersmith Hospital Campus. Levels 2–6 of the building, currently named the ‘Clinical Research Building’, will contain bespoke laboratory facilities, together with modern teaching facilities and comfortable working spaces.

In recent years, the NHLI has seen how creating a shared space for Imperial’s vascular science and cardiology teams has resulted in new collaborations and opened fresh avenues for research. It is hoped that the co-location of Imperial's cardiac and respiratory teams will have a similar positive impact.

This article was first published on 7 June by Imperial College London.

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