Department of Cardiovascular Sciences

Atrial Fibrillation

Meet our team


Ben GibbisonBen Gibbison is Associate Professor of Cardiac Anaesthesia and Intensive Care at the Bristol Heart Institute. His research interests surround Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis dysfunction and brain dysfunction after cardiac surgery and in critical illness. He also is Chief Investigator for a number of NIHR funded clinical trials.

Health Service Researchers

Maria PufuleteMaria Pufulete is an applied health methodologist at the Bristol Health Institute. She designs and conducts randomised controlled trials, non-randomised studies, systematic reviews and mixed methods studies in cardiovascular disease. She is Chief Investigator for multiple NIHR-funded studies.

Patient and Public Representative

Gil Wheeler - PPI MemberGil Wheeler since his diagnosis of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy heart condition back in 1990, has been involved with patient engagement and participation roles both at local and national levels learning to both listen and speak up for the patient. Throughout his time with this involvement he has learnt and helped to educate not only other patients but clinical staff as well. He sits on several health service steering groups looking at best practices, data, research, clinical studies and funding for new ideas to supporting the Heart patient now and in the future. He has set up 3 Facebook groups Big heart Club, Patients Voice and Empowering Patients within the NHS.

Anthony Locke - PPI Member Anthony Locke is a member of many patient advisory committees and a volunteer on a number of research projects. He is a public member on the Cardiac Surgery Research Programme Steering Committee at University of Leicester and Cardiovascular BRC as well as being a member of the BHF CRC National PPI Group. 

Phil BlakelockPhil Blakelock first came to the world of PPI after engaging with the BHF following surgery to replace a bicuspid aortic valve, being invited prior to the operation to contribute to a research programme on heart muscle make-up. This brought a realisation of the link between physics / science and technology with cardiology, and how this can be brought to bear upon challenging cardiac conditions and the welfare of the population.

Phil has spent most of his career in Defence Engineering and is passionate about all things science. Having participated in a very professionally run heart research programme, Phil wants to influence new programmes and trials so that they are executed in the same way, particularly from the patient’s perspective, on how trials are communicated, and executed.

As a patient representative Phil contributes to many other PPI initiatives, pre-funding application assessments, BMJ patient reviews etc., including the All Party Parliamentary Group on “AI in heart and circulatory diseases”, as well as the House of Lords Committee on “Beyond Digital – Planning for a hybrid world”.

Cardiothoracic Interdisciplinary Research Network Representative

George Gradinariu - CIRN representative George Gradinariu is a Cardiothoracic Surgery Trainee based in Scotland. He is the Surgical Trainee Representative in the Scottish Cardiac Society Council. He has been in involved in several collaborative research initiatives within the Cardiothoracic Interdisciplinary Research Network since 2019 and is looking forward to develop clinically-relevant solutions in order to better predict, prevent and manage atrial fibrillation after cardiac surgery.

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