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Meet the team


Angus Nightingale

Dr Angus Nightingale

About: Dr Nightingale is a Consultant Cardiologist with clinical and research interests in hypertension, heart failure and valvular heart disease.  He is the principle investigator for a number of clinical studies in hypertension and heart failure, with a particular interest in how the brain and heart interact through the autonomic nervous system. 

Dr Nightingale runs the BHI Hypertension Clinic, treating patients with challenging hypertension.  His focus is on using the group's unique expertise in assessing autonomic function to develop new treatments for patients.

Professional Background: Dr Nightingale qualified from Cambridge University in 1992 MA MB BChir.  He undertook an MD in Cardiff and Oxford with Professor Michael Frenneaux.  The University of Wales awarded his MD in 2002, with a thesis entitled "Role of Endothelial Dysfunction in Exercise Limitation in Chronic Heart Failure".

Dr Nightingale worked as a Post-doctoral Researcher and Consultant Cardiologist in Adelaide, Australia.  He was appointed Consultant Cardiologist at the BHI in 2006 and runs the Heart Failure Service and the Hypertension Clinic. 


Andreas B

 Professor Andreas Baumbach

About:  Professor Baumbach is a Consultant Cardiologist at the BHI and an Honorary Reader in Cardiology at the University of Bristol.

He is interested in research involving the manipulation of the autonomic nervous system.  One method already in clinical practice is catheter-based denervation for resistant hypertension.  He participates in studies aiming to identify the mechanism leading to a successful reduction of high blood pressure with renal denervation.

Professional Background: Prof. Baumbach graduated from medical school in Tubingen (Germany) in 1989.  He completed training in Internal Medicine, Cardiology, and Intensive Care Medicine.

His research involved restenosis following coronary angioplasty, local drug delivery, and non-invasive coronary imaging with Multidetector CT.  He was awarded the title of Professor of Medicine (apl) from the University of Tubingen in 2008.

Prof. Baumbach joined the BHI Cardiology team in 2000.  Since 2008 he has headed clinical research in the Cardiology Department and he is the theme leader "Interventional Cardiology" of the 2012 NIHR Biomedical Research Unit in the BHI.  


Amy Burchell

Dr Amy Burchell

About: Dr Burchell has been able to combine her interests in Cardiology and Neuroscience, and is working towards a PhD in the School of Clinical Sciences at the University of Bristol.

She is investigating the autonomic physiology of patients undergoing renal denervation for drug resistant hypertension. 

Dr Burchell is working alongside Dr Nightingale and other colleagues in the specialist Hypertension Clinic, to help provide more structured care for patients with challenging hypertension.

Professional Background: Dr Burchell completed her pre-clinical medical training at Trinity Hall, Cambridge before transferring on to New College, Oxford for her clinical studies.  Whilst at Cambridge she undertook a BA in Neuroscience, with a special interest in higher cognitive function and episodic memory.

She worked as a junior doctor in Oxford, Reading and Bristol before commencing training as a Cardiology Registrar in the Severn Deanery in 2009. 


Laura Ratcliffe

Dr Laura Ratcliffe

About: Dr Ratcliffe joined the team in August 2012 and is in the process of completing her PhD at the University of Bristol. 

Her interest in the autonomic nervous system started through her undergraduate research.  Dr Ratcliffe is particularly interested in the role that the nervous system plays in high blood pressure.  As a renal registrar, she has seen the impact that uncontrolled hypertension can have on patients' health and quality of life.

Dr Ratcliffe is researching novel treatments for patients with hypertension resistant to medical treatment.  She works alongside Dr Nightingale in the BHI Hypertension clinic, seeing patients with challenging hypertension.

Professional Background: Dr Ratcliffe studied at Imperial College London.  She completed her BSc in Medical Sciences with Gastroenterology and Hepatology in 2003, and qualified in Medicine (MBBS) in 2005.  Her BSc included a research project with the Physiology Department at St. Marks Hospital, Middlesex, studying the effects of acute stress on autonomic outflow to the gut.

She worked as a junior doctor in London and Gloucester.  She started her training as a Renal / General Internal Medicine Registrar in 2009, working in Bristol and Exeter.  


Katrina Hope

Dr Katrina Hope


About: Dr Hope is an Anaesthetic Registrar and Academic Clinical Fellow. She joined the team in 2013 and is interested in cardiovascular physiology and trying to understand why autonomic diseases such as high blood pressure and heart failure occur.

In her clinical job, Dr Hope sees many patients with these diseases coming for operations and unwell on intensive care. She hopes that in the future, by knowing more about the physiology of autonomic diseases we can improve the outcomes of patients undergoing operations. 

She is currently running a study to look at carotid body activity of people with high blood pressure during exercise, compared to those with normal blood pressure.

Professional Background:  Dr Hope graduated with BMBS from the University of Nottingham in 2007, having also completed a Bachelor of Medical Sciences degree, in which she looked at the immunology of cancer cells. She worked as junior doctor in Chesterfield & Derby before starting her training in anaesthesia in Central London. She then completed a full time masters course in 2012 at King's College Hospital, London, in Human & Applied Physiology with distinction. As part of this, she researched non-freezing cold injury, at the University of Portsmouth.

Dr Hope started her anaesthetic registrar training in Bristol in 2013. She is currently undertaking an academic clinical fellowship and applying for a PhD.


Julian Paton

Professor Julian Paton

About: Prof. Paton was awarded his Chair of Physiology at the University of Bristol in 2001.

His key interests are in understanding why sympathetic activity destined for the cardiovascular system becomes elevated in conditions of hypertension.  Prof. Paton believes that interventions to reduce sympathetic activity will be highly significant for controlling blood pressure and reducing damage to end organs.

Prof. Paton is currently involved in 4 translational clinical studies looking at novel approaches to controlling sympathetic nervous activity in hypertensive patients.

Professional Background: Prof. Paton studied at the University of Birmingham (BSc) and University of London (PhD). 

His post-doctoral training was at the University of London, E.I. Dupont de Nemours (USA) and the University of Gottingen (Germany).  Subsequently, he was awarded a British Heart Foundation Fellowship based at the University of Bristol.

Prof. Paton has published 260 original papers and 71 reviews on neural regulation of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.  He has been awarded £20 million in research funding. He gave keynote lectures at the Council for High Blood Pressure, USA, International Society of Hypertension, The Hood Lecture, Auckland, New Zealand and the International Union of Physiological Sciences, Brazil (2017).  He has been the Deputy Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Physiology and won a number of prestigious prizes including the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award.


Emma Hart

Dr Emma Hart

 About: Dr Hart is a British Heart Foundation Research Fellow in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the Univeristy of Bristol.  Her research interests focus on the mechanisms underlying the development of hypertension, specifically the role played by the autonomic nervous system and targeting this system to treat disease.

Dr Hart is an expert in a technique called microneurography, which is used to measure the activity of the sympathetic nervous system.  The technique is special as it can provide key information about how blood pressure is controlled.  Microneurography is carried out in only a handful of research institutes around the world.

Professional Background: Dr Hart completed her PhD at Brunel University and the University of Copenhagen (Cardiovascular Physiology).  She then went on to complete a Post-doctoral Research Fellowship at the Mayo Clinic (USA), where her reseach focussed on how the nervous system controlled blood pressure and the effect that ageing had on this control.

Dr Hart also completed a sabbatical at Goteborg University (Sweden) where she conducted research into how the nervous system changes in age and hypertension. 


Sandra Neuman 

Miss Sandra Neumann                                           

About: Miss Sandra Neumann joined the team in 2014 when she was awarded a Wellcome Trust Neural Dynamics PhD studentship. Her studies include investigating the dynamics of brain blood flow in hypertension, as well as the interactions between blood pressure and pain. 

Professional Background:   She obtained her BSc (Hons) Neuroscience from the University of Bristol and then studied for a Joint Masters in Neuroscience programme at the University of Strasbourg (FR), University of Basel (CH) and the Albert-Ludwig University of Freiburg (D) while working for Roche Pharmaceuticals.            





Research Nurses

 Ms Ruth Bowles

 About: Ruth Bowles is a Senior Cardiac Research Nurse responsible for the evaluation, set-up, facilitation, and recruitment of patients to a number of national and international cardiology studies.

Her role includes providing patients with information and following their progress during their time in a research trial, enabling patients to take part in studies safely.

Professional Background: Ruth Bowles qualified as a Registered Nurse in 1982 and has additional qualifications in intensive care nursing and a BSc(Hons) in Computing and Information Technology (2008).

She has worked in a range of different specialities including care of the elderly, general surgery, urology, renal medicine, ENT, and orthopaedics, eventually specialising in intensive care nursing of both adults and children.

After a brief period as Sister in the Coronary and Intensive Care Unit in Weston General Hospital, she took up the post of Senior Sister in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, BHI (1988 - 2010) before being appointed to her current role. 


Rissa Calsena

Ms Rissa Calsena

 About: Rissa Calsena joined the team as a Cardiac Research Nurse in 2012.  She is involved in patient recruitment and visit coordination for various hypertension and heart failure studies. 

Professional Background: Ms. Calsena qualified in 1997 with a BSc in Nursing from the Central Philippine University (Philippines).  She worked as a Medical Representative and Radiology Nurse, before moving to the UK in 2003.

Ms Calsena has worked at University Hospitals Bristol for the last 10 years.  She was a Staff Nurse on the Cardiology wards, prior to taking up her current post.  She still works part time on the Cardiac Surgery wards to maintain her clinical nursing skills.