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Professor Behr is a recognised national and international expert and researcher in the field of arrhythmias. He is Professor in Cardiovascular Medicine and Honorary Consultant Cardiologist specialising in Electrophysiology at St George's, University of London and St George's Hospital, London.

He is also Consultant Cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic, London. He is Head of the Cardiology Research Centre and Director of the Cardiovascular Clinical Academic Group as St George’s where he leads a research group with interests in the causes and mechanisms underlying of sudden death, and its prevention. He co-leads the Inherited Cardiac Conditions clinic at St George's, coordinating a multi-disciplinary team that provides a single one-stop service to families including children.

His research and clinical interests include:

  • families with unexplained sudden deaths, the Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS) and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

  • genetic risk for sudden death

  • ion channel diseases including the long QT and Brugada syndromes

  • drug-induced arrhythmia and QT prolongation

  • hypertrophic, dilated and arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathies.

  • management and treatment of arrhythmias and sudden death risk

  • ablation and complex device therapy.

Professor Behr was educated at the Manchester Grammar School and studied medical sciences at St John's College, University of Cambridge from 1987. His undergraduate training was completed with distinction in 1993 at Guy's Hospital, London. His general medical training continued at Guy's and Lewisham Hospitals and he was then appointed to the South-West London Specialist Registrar Cardiology Training Programme in 1997. Professor Behr completed training at St George's Hospital in 2007, sub-specialising in clinical electrophysiology under the supervision of Dr Edward Rowland, Dr David Ward and Dr Vince Paul. He was appointed at St George’s as Senior Lecturer and Consultant Cardiologist in 2007 with subsequent promotions to Reader and Professor in the University where he now leads the Cardiology Research Centre and Cardiovascular Clinical Academic Group.

From 1999 to 2003 he undertook research at St George’s Hospital Medical School, London under the supervision of Professor William McKenna, studying the epidemiology, pathology, genetics and phenotype of unexpected and unexplained sudden death victims (SADS) and their families, an area in which he is now considered an international expert. He was also supervised by Professor John Camm in the non-invasive and genetic study of the electrophysiological effects of drugs, developing the British Heart Foundation (BHF) funded program grant: the Drug-induced Arrhythmia Risk Evaluation (DARE) study.

These early areas of research interest in cardiac genetics and sudden death risk have developed and attracted further grant awards as principal and co-applicant from the British Heart Foundation, Medical Research Council, European Union (FP7), Australian Medical Research Council, the international Serious Adverse Events Consortium (iSAEC), and the Robert Lancaster Memorial Fund.

He has authored and co-authored papers in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Lancet, British Medical Journal, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Circulation, European Heart Journal, Nature Genetics, Nature Cardiology Reviews, Heart, Circulation AEP, Circulation GPM and Heart Rhythm amongst others. He has given invited lectures at many national and international meetings including the American Heart Association, Heart Rhythm Society (HRS), European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA), European Society of Cardiology (ESC) & Asia Pacific Heart Rhythm Society (APHRS), British Cardiovascular Society (BCS), and Heart Rhythm Congress (British Heart Rhythm Society, BHRS).

Professor Behr is the founder and first Chair of the European Cardiac arrhythmia Genetics (ECGen) Focus Group, EHRA and sits on the EHRA Board and the Nucleus of the ESC Council of Cardiovascular Genomics. He co-leads the arrhythmia syndrome subdomain of the UK 100,000 Genomes Cardiovascular Genome England Clinical Interpretation Partnership and is Chair of the national collaboration: the Rare Arrhythmia Syndrome Evaluation (RASE) consortium.

He is an expert advisor on the NHS England Clinical Reference Groups for Genomics and Cardiovascular Services and is the Chairperson of the Steering Group for the BHF NHS and Coronial Sudden Unexpected Death Pilot.

He is past-president of the Association for Inherited Cardiac Conditions (AICC) having been president secretary and council member over the first ten years of its life. He was the St George’s Health Care Partner lead for the European Rare Disease Reference Network GUARD-HEART up until Brexit.

Professor Behr is an editorial board member of the Heart Rhythm journal. He co-wrote international guidelines for diagnosis and management of arrhythmia syndromes published in 2013, and followed up section lead of the 2020 APHRS/HRS Expert Consensus Statement on the Investigation of Decedents and Patients with Sudden Cardiac Arrest, and of Their Families.

Professor Behr has acted as an expert advisor to: the charities Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) and the BHF; the European Medicine Agency; the Human Genome Strategy Group (HGSG) Service Development Working Group; the Inherited Cardiac Condition Services Steering Group; the Public Health Genome Foundation Working Group for National Services for Inherited Cardiac Conditions; and the Committee for Implementation of Chapter eight of the National Service Framework.

He also has education and training responsibilities to junior doctors including acting as an educational supervisor, academic representative and interviewer for the Pan London Specialty Training Committee for Cardiology. He has supervised or continues to supervised seventeen post-graduate degrees students.

Professor Behr research interests focus on the prevention of sudden death. He aims to elucidate genomic, pathological and clinical risk markers, and therefore the mechanisms underlying unexpected and unexplained sudden deaths with a particular focus on the young where genomics and personalized risk prediction may have the greatest role to play. This has resulted in research initiatives and collaborations in the following fields:

  • Pathological markers in unexplained sudden death - Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS), Brugada syndrome and Arrhythmogenic Cardiomyopathy

  • Genomics markers of Unexplained Cardiac Arrest, J wave syndromes, SADS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and sudden death risk the general population

  • Translation to clinical and risk evaluation in families with SADS and UCA

  • Clinical and ECG markers for sudden death risk prediction linked to large datasets, electronic health records and Artificial Intelligence

  • Drug-induced arrhythmia: clinical  and genomic  risk factors.

  • Genotype:phenotype relationship and genetic modifiers in the long QT and Brugada syndromes and J-wave syndromes

  • Risk stratification in cardiomyopathies including arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (ARVC) 

Grant income (PI unless stated)

  • 2003-8 BHF Special Project: Drug Induced Arrhythmia Risk Evaluation (DARE) Study: Co-Applicant £1,700,000

  • 2008-10 BHF Cardiac Genetic Nurse: £200,000

  • 2009-11 Biotronik Research Nurse: Heart failure and Devices: £90,000

  • 2009-11 Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) Research Fellowship: £87,400

  • 2009-10 Serious Adverse Events Consortium: Additional DARE study funding: $125,000

  • 2009-12 EU FP7: ARITMO - Arrhythmogenic Potential of Drugs: Co-Applicant and work package leader €300,000 from €2,700,000

  • 2010 Biotronik unrestricted grant: Research into sudden death in the young: £38,000

  • 2010-13 BHF Special Project Grant Next Generation Sequencing in Inherited Heart Disease: Co-applicant £1,000,000

  • 2011-13 BHF Clinical Research Training Fellowship FS/11/71/28918: Future diagnostic role and novel genetic loci in SADS: £154,000

  • 2012-14 BHF Project Grant: Repolarisation abnormalities in black athletes: Co-applicant: PI held: £124,000

  • 2012-14 MRC PhD fellowship: Genetic modifiers of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in the Old Order Amish: Co-supervisor: PI held £138,000

  • 2012 Biotronik unrestricted grant: Research into sudden death in the young: £40,000

  • 2012-14 BHF Project Grant: Influence of low frequency and rare variants on ECG risk traits for cardiac arrhythmias: Co-Applicant: PI held: £101,913

  • 2013 CRY unrestricted grant: £20,000

  • 2013-15 BHF Clinical Research Training Fellowship FS/13/78/30520 - Genetic risk in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: £207,044

  • 2014-16 EU FP7: SEMCARE Semantic data platform Co-PI: €248,608 from €2,499,000

  • 2015-18 The Robert Lancaster Memorial Fund and CRY research fellowship: £237,000

  • 2015-17 BHF Project Grant: Exome sequencing to discover new causative genes for TAAD (Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm and Dissection): £124,542

  • 2016 The Robert Lancaster Memorial Fund donation McColl’s RG Ltd.: £209,000

  • 2016 ESC Research Fellowship: €25,000

  • 2016-19 BHF Project Grant PG/15/107/31908: Novel methods for risk assessment of patients with the Brugada syndrome: The Rare Arrhythmia Syndrome Evaluation (RASE) - Brugada study: £299,026

  • 2017 The Robert Lancaster Memorial Fund donation McColl’s RG Ltd.: £300,000

  • 2017-19 Australian Medical Research Council Early Carrier Award: Belinda Gray. UK supervisor: £166,288

  • 2018 The Robert Lancaster Memorial Fund donation McColl’s RG Ltd: £200,000

  • 2018-20 BHF Clinical Research Training Fellowship FS/18/28/33549 - Chris Miles: Novel diagnostic markers in sudden arrhythmic death syndrome: £176,618

  • 2018-21 Robert Lancaster Fellowship award: £150,000

  • 2019-20 The Robert Lancaster Memorial Fund donation McColl’s RG Ltd: £250,000

  • 2019-21 St George’s Hospital Charity: The clinical application of genomics in sudden cardiac death and inherited cardiac conditions: £127,292

  • 2020-21 BHF Project Grant PG/19/58/34581 - A genotype-phenotype association study of Ajmaline provocation and its role in the diagnosis of Brugada syndrome: £294,754

  • 2020-21 The Robert Lancaster Memorial Fund donation McColl’s RG Ltd.: £100,000

  • 2021-24 BHF Special Project SP/20/4/35124 - The Genomic basis of Unexplained Cardiac Arrest: The GenUCA Investigators (joint funding with DZHK and DHF): £731,434

Translational Cardiovascular Pathology and Inherited Cardiac Conditions, SGUL:

Mary Sheppard, Sanjay Sharma, Michael Papadakis, Maite Tome-Esteban, Angeliki Asimaki, Mark Specterman, Marta Futema, Alan Pittman

Rare Arrhythmia Syndrome Evaluation (RASE) Consortium, UK

Pier Lambiase (UCL/Barts), Amanda Varnava (Imperial), Alison Muir, Pascal McKeown (Belfast), Rachel Bastiaenen (St Thomas’), Jan Till, James Ware (Royal Brompton), Steve Page (Leeds), Catherine Mercer (Southampton), Derrick Todd (Liverpool), Luigi Venetucci (Manchester), Stephen Lord (Newcastle), Manish Kalla (Birmingham)

Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome

  • SGUL: Mary Sheppard, Sanjay Sharma, Michael Papadakis, Maite Tome-Esteban,
  • UK: Stuart Cook, James Ware, Jan Till (Royal Brompton)
  • Denmark: Michael Christiansen, Jacob Tfelt-Hansen.
  • Netherlands: Arthur Wilde, Connie Bezzina,
  • Australia: Chris Semsarian
  • New Zealand: John Skinner

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – Trans-Atlantic SIDS Collaboration

  • USA: Dave Tester, Mike Ackerman (Mayo Clinic), Orrin Devinsky (NYU)
  • Denmark: Jacob Tfelt-Hansen
  • UK: David Fitzpatrick (Edinburgh), Peter Fleming (Bristol), Marta Cohen (Sheffield), Mike Simpson (KCL), Iona Jeffery and Emma Matthews (SGUL), Sanjay Sisodiya and Paul Gissen (UCL)
  • Australia: Chris Semsarian

Drug-Induced Arrhythmia

  • SGUL: John Camm, Steve Jeffery, Yalda Jamshidi
  • DARE study (BHF): Saad Shakir (DSRU, Southampton)
  • ARITMO EU FP7 group led by Miriam Sturkenboom, Erasmus, Holland
  • International SAEC led by Mr Arthur Holden and Professor Munir Pirmohammed, UK.
  • Leducq network alliance against SCD led by Professor Dan Roden, Vanderbilt, US.

Genomics of Unexplained Cardiac Arrest (GenUCA) Investigators

  • Amsterdam, NL - AUMC   Connie Bezzina, Arthur Wilde
  • Mannheim, DE        Martin Borggrefe
  • Munich, DE  Stefan Kääb
  • Copenhagen, DK    Jacob Tfelt-Hansen
  • Utrecht, NL   Rutger Hassink
  • Paris, FR       Antoine Leenhardt
  • Nantes, FR Vincent Probst
  • Bordeaux, FR Michelle Haissaguerre
  • Mayo Clinic, USA    Michael Ackerman
  • Muenster, DE          Eric Schulze-Bahr
  • Leeds, UK     Stephen Page
  • Canada: Andrew Krahn

Brugada syndrome

  • SGUL: Mary Sheppard, Sanjay Sharma, Michael Papadakis, Yalda Jamshidi, Irina Chis Ster
  • UK: Pier Lambiase, Amanda Varnava, Pascal McKeown, Alison Muir
  • Netherlands: Arthur Wilde, Connie Bezzina, Hanno Tan
  • Thailand: Koonlawee Nademanee, Gum Veerakul
  • Denmark: Michael Christiansen, Jacob Tfelt-Hansen, Morten Olesen
  • France: Vincent Probst, Pascale Guicheney, Richard Redon, Julien Barc
  • USA: Dan Roden, Mike Ackerman, Al George, Dawood Darbar
  • Brugada gene discovery QRS Consortium

Collaborations in Cardiac Genetic Disease Including E1784K Consortium

  • SGUL: Mary Sheppard, Sanjay Sharma, Michael Papadakis, Maite Tome-Esteban, Yalda Jamshidi, Steve Jeffery, Irina Chis Ster
  • UK: Stuart Cook, James Ware (Royal Brompton) Jan Till, Pascal McKeown Chris Denning (Nottingham), Andrew Tinker (QMUL)
  • Japan: Naomasa Makita, Takeshi Aiba, Minoru Horie, Seiko Ono, Wataru Shimizu
  • Italy: Peter Schwartz, Lia Crotti
  • USA: Dan Roden, Mike Ackerman, Al George
  • Denmark: Michael Christiansen, Jacob Tfelt.
  • Netherlands: Arthur Wilde, Connie Bezzina, Michael Tanck
  • Canada: Andrew Krahn, Jason Roberts, Shubhayan Sanatani

Population studies

  • UK Biobank CM Consortium: Harry Hemingway, Dan Roden, Chris Nelson (Leicester), Hugh Watkins (Oxford), Mary Sheppard, Irina Chis Ster, Adam Witney (SGUL)
  • Early Repolarisation Consortium: Yalda Jamshidi, Patricia Munroe (QMUL), Nilesh Samani (Leicester), Christian Hengstenberg (Munich), Harold Snieder, Ilja Nolte (Holland).
  • QT-IGC consortium
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