skip to content

Cambridge Cardiovascular



Brian is a cardiologist and genetic epidemiologist who was educated and trained at Harvard, Yale, Oxford and Cambridge Universities.  

He graduated from Yale Medical School and trained as a clinical investigator resident in Internal Medicine and as a special student in clinical epidemiology and genetic epidemiology as part of the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program at Yale.  He then trained in cardiology and interventional cardiology at Harvard Medical School. While at Harvard, he also completed the Program in Clinical Effectiveness at Harvard School of Public Health, and was an NHLBI Cardiovascular (Genetic) Epidemiology Fellow at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.  He then earned a business degree from the University of Cambridge, and a degree in evidence-based medicine with a focus on clinical trial design from the University of Oxford

He is currently Director of Research (Professor) in Translational Therapeutics, and Executive Director of the Centre for Naturally Randomized Trials at the University of Cambridge, UK; and Visiting Professor in Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Milan, Italy. Prior to his current post in Cambridge, his previous positions included Chief of Cardiology and Director of the Cardiovascular Genomic Research Centre at Wayne State University School of Medicine in the US; Chief Medical and Scientific Officer for a public-private collaboration working on the Chinese Precision Medicine Initiative in Beijing; and CEO of a biotechnology company.  His research focuses on using Mendelian randomization to design ‘naturally randomized trials’ to generate naturally randomized evidence that can be used to improve the drug discovery and development process; inform the optimal design of randomized trials; fill evidence gaps when a randomized trial is not possible or practical; and define the practice of precision cardiovascular medicine.


Key publications: 

Updated list of publications can be found on PubMed.

Association of Triglyceride-Lowering LPL Variants and LDL-C-Lowering LDLR Variants With Risk of Coronary Heart Disease. Ference BA, Kastelein JJP, Ray KK, Ginsberg HN, Chapman MJ, Packard CJ, Laufs U, Oliver-Williams C, Wood AM, Butterworth AS, Di Angelantonio E, Danesh J, Nicholls SJ, Bhatt DL, Sabatine MS, Catapano AL. JAMA. 2019 Jan 29;321(4):364-373.

Association of LPA Variants With Risk of Coronary Disease and the Implications for Lipoprotein(a)-Lowering Therapies: A Mendelian Randomization Analysis. Burgess S, Ference BA, Staley JR, Freitag DF, Mason AM, Nielsen SF, Willeit P, Young R, Surendran P, Karthikeyan S, Bolton TR, Peters JE, Kamstrup PR, Tybjærg-Hansen A, Benn M, Langsted A, Schnohr P, Vedel-Krogh S, Kobylecki CJ, Ford I, Packard C, Trompet S, Jukema JW, Sattar N, Di Angelantonio E, Saleheen D, Howson JMM, Nordestgaard BG, Butterworth AS, Danesh J; European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition–Cardiovascular Disease (EPIC-CVD) Consortium. JAMA Cardiol. 2018 Jul 1;3(7):619-627.

Association of Genetic Variants Related to CETP Inhibitors and Statins With Lipoprotein Levels and Cardiovascular Risk. Ference BA, Kastelein JJP, Ginsberg HN, Chapman MJ, Nicholls SJ, Ray KK, Packard CJ, Laufs U, Brook RD, Oliver-Williams C, Butterworth AS, Danesh J, Smith GD, Catapano AL, Sabatine MS. JAMA. 2017 Sep 12;318(10):947-956. 

Variation in PCSK9 and HMGCR and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes. Ference BA, Robinson JG, Brook RD, Catapano AL, Chapman MJ, Neff DR, Voros S, Giugliano RP, Davey Smith G, Fazio S, Sabatine MS. N Engl J Med. 2016 Dec 1;375(22):2144-2153.

Director of Research (Professor) in Translational Therapeutics
Executive Director of the Centre for Naturally Randomised Trials
Dr Brian A Ference,


Person keywords: 
genetic variation
mendelian randomisation