Our Team

Meet Our Team

Lead PIs

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much


Dr Riaz Akhtar

Senior Lecturer

Graduated from UMIST in 2003 with a First Class MEng (Hons) in Biomedical Materials Science with Industrial Experience. In 2007, he completed a PhD at The University of Manchester in ‘The micromechanical behaviour of bone’. Following this, he undertook a post-doctoral position investigating the micromechanical properties of soft tissue. In July 2008, Riaz was awarded a British Heart Foundation Advanced Training fellowship where he focussed on arterial stiffening and diabetes. He joined the University of Liverpool in October 2011 as a lecturer in Biomedical Engineering. He currently holds a RAEng/Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowship investigating aortic diseases with novel approaches


Dr Jill Madine

Research Fellow

Graduated with BSc in Biochemistry from UMIST in 2002, and completed a PhD in Structural Biology at University of Manchester in 2006. Jill has been researching the role of amyloid protein aggregation in neurodegenerative diseases for 15 years, which has been largely funded by Alzheimer’s Research UK through a PhD studentship and Fellowship. Currently, Jill is a Research and Tenure-Track Fellow funded by British Heart Foundation investigating the role of amyloid proteins in cardiovascular disease. Her research group at the University of Liverpool has a wide interest in amyloid protein diseases and elucidating the factors that contribute to the pathogenicity associated with these diseases.


Mr Mark Field

Consultant Vascular Surgeon

Mr Field started higher education at the University of Leeds in 1986 with a BSc Hon in Biochemistry and Pharmacology. He then completed a DPhil in Biochemistry at the University of Oxford in 1993. Following this training in research methods, he moved to the University of Nottingham to complete medical training (1993-1998), being awarded a BMed Sci (First class) and BMBS. Post graduate surgical training took place within the Trent Surgical Rotation when he completed his MRCS. Cardiac Surgery training took place in Nottingham, Sheffield and Liverpool and finished in 2009. He was appointed a consultant at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital in 2009.

Inter-disciplinary Research Group

Team Members

We are an inter-disciplinary research group spanning expertise in materials science, biochemistry, vascular surgery and applied mathematics. Our interests span a range of areas within cardiovascular medicine and science but are largely focussed on aortic dissection and ascending aortic aneurysms.

Clinical Member

Mr. Omar Nawaytou

Graduated from Cairo University Medical School in 1998. Appointed as a Resident in Cardiothoracic Surgery at Cairo University Hospitals 2000-2003 where he concomitantly completed an MSc. He was appointed as Assistant Lecturer, then Lecturer, in Cardiothoracic Surgery from 2004-2007 where he completed his Medical Doctorate (MD) degree. He moved to the UK in 2007 and successfully completed the Fellowship examination of the RCS (Eng). He was awarded the prestigious Ethicon Fellowship from the SCTS and pursued advanced training in aortic valve and root repair at Hôpital Universitaires St. Luc in Brussels under the mentorship of Prof El- Khoury. He held a Heart Research UK fellowship at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital (LHCH) in 2016, and was appointed as a Consultant Cardiac and Aortic Surgeon at LHCH in 2017.

PhD Student

Phakakorn Panpho

Graduated from Naresuan University, Thailand in Physics and then achieved a MSc in Biomedical Engineering from University of Liverpool in 2016. She commenced a PhD in Feb 2017 investigating the nanomechanical heterogeneity in the aortic dissection flap under the supervision of Dr Riaz Akhtar, Dr Jill Madine and Mr Mark Field.

PhD Student

Sarah Shirley

Graduated with a BSc in Applied Zoology from LJMU in 2001, Sarah went on to complete a BSc Clinical Science (Perfusion) at NESCOT and qualified as a Clinical Perfusion Scientist in 2004.  Since then Sarah has also completed a MSc Translational Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Bristol (2019) and is a member of the Society of Clinical Perfusion Scientists Executive Committee (Sub committee Education and Training).  Over the years Sarah has developed an interest in perfusion practices for aortic surgery and became connected with LABB during her Masters.  She commenced a part-time PhD in October 2020 investigating the role of inflammation in acute Type A aortic dissection under the supervision of Dr Jill Madine while continuing to maintain her clinical perfusion practice.

Consultant Vascular/Endovascular surgeon

Francesco Torella

Francesco was appointed consultant vascular/endovascular surgeon in 2003. He works at the Liverpool University Hospitals and at the Liverpool Heart & Chest Hospital. He studied in Italy, Belgium and the United Kingdom and qualified in Medicine in 1992. He became a Fellow of the Royal College of surgeons of England in 1997 and subsequently trained in general/vascular surgery in Merseyside and Manchester. He was awarded his Doctor of Medicine postgraduate degree in Manchester with the thesis “Development and Evaluation of a Blood Transfusion Trigger by Near Infrared Spectroscopy”. He is a founding member of the Liverpool Cardiovascular Service, in which cardiac and vascular surgeons combine their skills to deliver treatment to patients with complex aortic disease.

Clinical Member

Mr. Amer Harky

Graduated from Hawler Medical University in Erbil, Iraq and awarded Membership of Royal college of Surgeons / England in 2015 followed by MSc in Advanced Surgical Practice July 2019 from Cardiff University / Wales. Amer is a speciality trainee in Cardiothoracic Surgery, based in Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital and has a special interest in Aorto-Vascular Surgery.

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