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Associate Professor Sarah De Val will lead a team of researchers to take on the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) London to Brighton Bike Ride on the 19th June.

The team posing in BHF T-shirts with a bike

The 2022 London to Brighton Bike Ride will mark the 45th anniversary of the event, returning after a two-year hiatus due to restrictions put in place for large-scale events because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The BHF hopes to raise more than £2.8 million to help fund lifesaving research projects, including finding new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat heart and circulatory diseases, which kill one person every three minutes in the UK.

Earlier this year, Associate Professor Sarah De Val’s research project was selected by the BHF as one of the cutting-edge research projects into regenerative medicine that will receive funding from the 2022 TCS London Marathon. The De Val Group’s goal is to build a comprehensive picture of how different molecules work together in the heart to activate either blood or lymphatic vessel growth.  This could help to build a better picture of how different cells work together in the heart and lead to new treatments that supports recovery after a heart attack and reduces the damage they cause to the heart muscle.


My group studies the regulation of blood and lymphatic vessel development, and how the regulatory pathways respond during injury, such as a heart attack. In particular, we focus on enhancers, the on off switches of genes, in order to identify which proteins, activate the correct pattern of blood and lymphatic vessel growth during tissue repair. - Sarah De Val

Sarah and her colleagues will join around 14,000 other cyclists of all abilities for the Bike Ride on Sunday 19th June. Participants will cycle the 54-mile route starting at Clapham Common, before riding through the beautiful Surrey and Sussex countryside and crossing the finishing line on Brighton’s famous seafront.


I am so excited to participate in the London to Brighton Bike Ride. I rarely cycle long-distances, and 54 miles is going to be a thrilling challenge for a brilliant cause. What better way to show support for The British Heart Foundation and its mission than by participating in an activity good for the cardiovascular health. The team is very keen on raising funds for the BHF and is actively crowdfunding. We are busy preparing and sharing tips between us. Learning together and getting into our training. We are taking spinning lessons and doing longer bike rides, such high motivation! - Dr Helena Rodriguez Caro, a postdoctoral research scientist who is one of the team members taking part in the event

In addition to Prof De Val and Dr Rogriguez Caro, the team includes postdoctoral research scientists Drs Susann Bruche, Svanhild Nornes, Jacinta Kalisch Smith, DPhil student Helen Potts, and Prof De Val's collaborator Associate Professor Gillian Douglas.

To support the team and donate to the British Heart Foundation, visit the Teams' pages on JustGiving:

Sarah's BHF London to Brighton Bike Ride Sponsorship page

Helena, Svanhild and Helena's page: "Advocating for better cardiovascular health".


See the Institute of Developmental and Regenerative Medicine website for the full story

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