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Professor Claudia Monaco, of the Kennedy Institute, is the 2015 Oxford-Harrington Scholar.

As a clinician-scientist, Professor Monaco has dedicated her career to the discovery of new treatments for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Her work was pioneering in looking at CVD within the area of inflammation, using a unique approach to test efficacy in human atherosclerosis – a condition where arteries become blocked by fatty substances.

CVD is a big health problem and the second leading cause of death in the UK, representing 28% of all deaths in 2012. In addition, there were more than 1.6 million episodes related to cardiovascular disease in NHS hospitals, with more than £6.8 billion being spent on treating CVD within the NHS in England.

Professor Monaco’s research aims to change standard of care and improve health for people with CVD, by bringing new medicines into the clinical setting.

The Oxford-Harrington Scholarship Programme was set up in 2014 as a partnership between the Harrington Discovery Institute (Cleveland, USA) and the University of Oxford to advance highly promising Oxford supported drug discovery projects.

The rate of drug development is now slower than it used to be, with pharmaceutical companies and investors waiting to invest until the efficiency of a drug has been confirmed. This leaves a gap in the intermediate stages of research and development and has discouraged clinical scientists from pursuing their ideas.

The Oxford-Harrington Scholarship will close this gap by supporting clinical scientists whose ideas have great potential to become new treatments, with pre-clinical drug research and clinical trials in the early stages. It will also provide the drug development infrastructure needed to turn a discovery into a medicine.

The first Oxford-Harrington scholar was Professor Alison Simmons, whose aims were to undertsnad how inflammation damages the gut in Crohn’s disease, a condition that affects 1 in 200 people.

You can read more about the 2015 Oxford-Harrington Scholar here.