Professor Jill Belch
Clinical Professor (Teaching and Research)
Molecular and Clinical Medicine, School of Medicine
Jill Belch is a Professor of Vascular Medicine at the University of Dundee, UK, where until January 2016 she was the Research Dean then Co-Dean of the Medical School. She was also NHS Tayside R&D Director for 10 years also to 2016. Further she established and became Co-Director of the Tayside Academic Health Partnership. She is a founder Fellow of the Academy of Medical Science and a Fellow and Council Member of the Royal Society, Edinburgh. She is currently Head of the Institute of Cardiovascular Research. Her research interests centre on cardiovascular disease with especial reference to peripheral arterial disease (PAD), evaluating biomarkers, inflammation, endothelial function and novel treatments. She also has a keen interest in the Microcirculation and is researching environmental issues such as the effects of air pollution on health. Professor Belch is Chair or former Chair of trial steering committees for 19 international multicentre clinical trials of new treatments for vascular disease, and she has authored over 400 publications in peer-reviewed journals. She is Immediate Past President of the UK Section of Vascular Medicine at the Royal Society of Medicine and is currently President of the European Society of Vascular Medicine (ESVM), for whom she also chairs the ESVM Guidelines Committee. She was awarded an OBE in 2016 for Services to Medicine, and the Saltire Outstanding Women of the year in 2019.
I have been involved for some time in research projects investigating vascular and rheumatic diseases and the therapeutic effects of various anti-rheumatic and anti-thrombotic agents. The focus has been on the mechanistic link between inflammation and vascular behaviour. The initial studies into laboratory biomarkers has been followed by medium and large sized clinical trials to validate the hypotheses, or otherwise, generated in the laboratory studies. Circa £1.5m/annum has been gained in grant funding since appointment in 1987.
Assay systems have been established to measure inflammatory and vascular biomarkers, coagulation, haemorrheology and fibrinolysis. Areas of special interest have been developed, e.g. the inflammatory element of vascular disease with measures of WBC and free radical activity & the study of vascular endothelium. These techniques, combined with the ability to measure blood flow in both the macro- and microcirculation, have led to my publications in the field of vascular and inflammatory medicine.
A recent activity has been the establishment of the Institute of Cardiovascular Research via the TICR public fund raising appeal. This has raised circa £6.5m for the University, achieved strategic placement for Cardiovascular as one of the College’s research themes, and allowed 3 senior academic posts to be created in this field, and the purchase of a state of the art MRI scanner.
Teaching involves both undergraduate and postgraduate students, and covers areas including Peripheral Arterial Disease, Connective Tissue Disease and Governance of Clinical Trials.
The University of Dundee’s Professor Jill Belch has helped mobilise a Perthshire community in the fight against coronavirus