skip to primary navigationskip to content

Professor Martin Bennett

Professor Martin Bennett

BHF Professor of Cardiovascular Sciences

Mechanisms underlying atherosclerosis

Intravascular imaging techniques

Office Phone: 01223 746298

Departments and Institutes

Cardiovascular Strategic Research Initiative:
BHF Oxbridge Centre of Regenerative Medicine:
Department of Medicine:
Head of Division of Cardiovascular Medicine
BHF Cambridge Centre of Excellence:
Cardiovascular Biology Theme Lead

Research Interests

We use both human and mouse cells in vitro and models of atherosclerosis with genetic manipulation to study the role of specific gene products or cells in atherosclerosis. In particular, we have developed unique cell-type ablation systems to analyse the role of specific cells in vivo. Recent work has focussed on the protective mechanisms that ensure survival in VSMCs, and their defects in disease as well as the triggers for VSMC apoptosis and cell senescence. We have also identified novel mechanisms of regulating cell death receptors in vascular cells and how cell: cell interactions govern cell death.

Our clinical studies have used radiofrequency (virtual histology) intravascular ultrasound and computed tomography to determine the types and composition of plaques that determine patient presentation and future events, and are refining these techniques to examine vulnerable plaque characteristics. Collaborations with physical scientists are ongoing to model the mechanical properties of vulnerable plaques.


cell biology ; senescence ; apoptosis ; atherosclerosis ; biophysical modelling ; intravascular imaging ; cardiometabolic disease

Key Publications

Contemporary invasive imaging modalities that identify and risk-stratify coronary plaques at risk of rupture. Brown AJ, Costopoulos C, West NE, Bennett MR. Expert Rev Cardiovasc Ther. 2015 Jan;13(1):9-13.

Hematopoietic IKBKE limits the chronicity of inflammasome priming and metaflammation. Patel MN, Bernard WG, Milev NB, Cawthorn WP, Figg N, Hart D, Prieur X, Virtue S, Hegyi K, Bonnafous S, Bailly-Maitre B, Chu Y, Griffin JL, Mallat Z, Considine RV, Tran A, Gual P, Takeuchi O, Akira S, Vidal-Puig A, Bennett MR, Sethi JK. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Jan 13;112(2):506-11.

Effects of DNA Damage in Smooth Muscle Cells in Atherosclerosis. Gray KL, Kumar SV, Figg N, Harrison J, Baker L, Mercer JR, Littlewood TD, Bennett MR. Circ Res. 2014 Dec 18.

Mitochondrial DNA damage and atherosclerosis. Yu EP, Bennett MR. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Sep;25(9):481-7.

Dual-energy computed tomography imaging to determine atherosclerotic plaque composition: a prospective study with tissue validation. Obaid DR, Calvert PA, Gopalan D, Parker RA, West NE, Goddard M, Rudd JH, Bennett MR. J Cardiovasc Comput Tomogr. 2014 May-Jun;8(3):230-7.

Disturbed flow promotes endothelial senescence via a p53-dependent pathway. Warboys CM, de Luca A, Amini N, Luong L, Duckles H, Hsiao S, White A, Biswas S, Khamis R, Chong CK, Cheung WM, Sherwin SJ, Bennett MR, Gil J, Mason JC, Haskard DO, Evans PC. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2014 May;34(5):985-95.

Coronary plaque structural stress is associated with plaque composition and subtype and higher in acute coronary syndrome: the BEACON I (Biomechanical Evaluation of Atheromatous Coronary Arteries) study. Teng Z, Brown AJ, Calvert PA, Parker RA, Obaid DR, Huang Y, Hoole SP, West NE, Gillard JH, Bennett MR. Circ Cardiovasc Imaging. 2014 May;7(3):461-70.

The influence of computational strategy on prediction of mechanical stress in carotid atherosclerotic plaques: comparison of 2D structure-only, 3D structure-only, one-way and fully coupled fluid-structure interaction analyses. Huang Y, Teng Z, Sadat U, Graves MJ, Bennett MR, Gillard JH. J Biomech. 2014 Apr 11;47(6):1465-71.

Expansion and malapposition characteristics after bioresorbable vascular scaffold implantation. Brown AJ, McCormick LM, Braganza DM, Bennett MR, Hoole SP, West NE. Catheter Cardiovasc Interv. 2014 Jul 1;84(1):37-45.

The CCR5 chemokine receptor mediates vasoconstriction and stimulates intimal hyperplasia in human vessels in vitro. Maguire JJ, Jones KL, Kuc RE, Clarke MC, Bennett MR, Davenport AP. Cardiovasc Res. 2014 Mar 1;101(3):513-21.

Atherosclerotic plaque composition and classification identified by coronary computed tomography: assessment of computed tomography-generated plaque maps compared with virtual histology intravascular ultrasound and histology. Obaid DR, Calvert PA, Gopalan D, Parker RA, Hoole SP, West NE, Goddard M, Rudd JH, Bennett MR. Circ Cardiovasc Imaging. 2013 Sep;6(5):655-64.

Mitochondrial DNA damage can promote atherosclerosis independently of reactive oxygen species through effects on smooth muscle cells and monocytes and correlates with higher-risk plaques in humans. Yu E, Calvert PA, Mercer JR, Harrison J, Baker L, Figg NL, Kumar S, Wang JC, Hurst LA, Obaid DR, Logan A, West NE, Clarke MC, Vidal-Puig A, Murphy MP, Bennett MR. Circulation. 2013 Aug 13;128(7):702-12.

Myocardin regulates vascular response to injury through miR-24/-29a and platelet-derived growth factor receptor-β. Talasila A, Yu H, Ackers-Johnson M, Bot M, van Berkel T, Bennett MR, Bot I, Sinha S. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2013 Oct;33(10):2355-65.

Intracellular interleukin-1 receptor 2 binding prevents cleavage and activity of interleukin-1α, controlling necrosis-induced sterile inflammation. Zheng Y, Humphry M, Maguire JJ, Bennett MR, Clarke MC. Immunity. 2013 Feb 21;38(2):285-95.

Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell Sirtuin 1 protects against DNA damage and inhibits atherosclerosis. Gorenne I, Kumar S, Gray K, Figg N, Yu H, Mercer J, Bennett MR. Circulation. 2013;127(3):386-96.

Logo design by Dr Ana-Mishel Spiroski and Dr Sarah Morgan.


We connect cardiovascular researchers in Cambridge.

Please follow us on Twitter for local news about research, events, funding calls, and open positions.

For inquiries about our research or the website, please contact Dr Katja Kivinen.