Professor of Vascular Cell Biology
Clinical Science at South Bristol,Level 6, UBHT Education Centre, Upper Maudlin Street, Bristol BS2 8AE, UK
Andrew C Newby is British Heart Foundation Professor of Vascular Cell Biology at the University of Bristol. Born of English and Polish parents, he graduated in Biochemistry from Cambridge. Following PhD studies in Cardiff and postdoctoral work with Nobel Laureate Martin Rodbell at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, USA, his first independent work elucidated the metabolic pathways responsible for production of the cardioprotective metabolite, adenosine. He later contributed to the identification of the endothelium-derived relaxing factor as nitric oxide. He is most known, however, for discovering a role for matrix degrading metalloproteinases in vascular smooth muscle cell migration and proliferation. He was also one of the first to use of vascular adenovirus-mediated gene transfer. In 1995 he joined with Professor Gianni Angelini to found the Bristol Heart Institute, which now has over 100 scientists. He continues to study vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation and the contribution of proteases to atherosclerotic plaque stability. Professor Newby is on the Editorial Board of several prominent journals; he has published more than 120 research papers and more than 30 reviews. He has held many research grants and is currently co-director of the EC-funded European Vascular Genomics Network (EVGN).
My fervour for vascular biology may be explained in part by being an early convert from cardiac biochemistry. It became obvious to many of us at the beginning of the ‘80s that for most patients, cardiac disease was the consequence of coronary disease. Hence new treatments were most likely to come from studying blood vessels. It was an exciting time to start out because of the rapid advances being made, for example in understanding lipoprotein trafficking and endothelium-dependent vasodilatation. It was an era when DNA technology and cell biology methods were first being applied to atherosclerosis research. Later there was gene therapy and the explosion in understanding the importance of peri-cellular metabolism. In these early days I was inspired by several focused meetings of the European Artery Club, which later became EVBA. I have tried to reproduce their collaborative atmosphere, where young scientists like me could rub shoulders with and be encouraged by giants such as the late Russell Ross. Nowadays vascular biology has become too complex and resource intensive for individual labs and there is a growing need for networking and collaboration. The informal structure and intermittent activity of EVBA seem inadequate to meet this challenge; other areas – even cardiac biochemistry – are streets ahead. I have therefore been striving for more than four years to realise the ambition of a Europe-wide forum and voice for
vascular biologists. Working with Alain Tedgui and others to set up EVGN was the first vital step. Including the foundation of EVBO explicitly amongst its aims was the second. By being the first President of EVBO I hope to indelibly imprint a science-comes-first, collaboration- beats-competition ethos. I hope that EVBO will contribute to scientific integration across Europe and help inspire the next generation of vascular biologists.