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Neil completed his PhD (DPhil) and medical degree at the University of Oxford, before undertaking medical training in Bath, Northampton, London and as a Clinical Lecturer in Oxford.  After becoming a Consultant Cardiologist (CCT 2013), he was made an Associate Professor (2015) having been awarded a Fellowship from the British Heart Foundation. Neil’s clinical work is based at the Oxford Heart Centre of the John Radcliffe Hospital where he sub-specializes in cardiac pacing and rhythm management devices.


Neil is widely involved in medical school education, as a Tutorial Fellow in Preclinical Medicine at Exeter College, College Lecturer in Medicine at Merton College, and previously as a Tutor and Fellow (by special election) at Keble College. He teaches on the first year Physiology and Pharmacology course, the third year FHS and Principles of Clinical Anatomy courses, and also on the Clinical School Pathology and Combined Medicine and Surgery courses.  He is co-author of the textbooks “Basic Science for Core Medical Training” (highly commended at the BMA Book Awards 2016) and “Levick’s Introduction to Cardiovascular Physiology”, which are both used on the Oxford Medical and Biomedical Sciences courses.


Both the rate and force of contraction of the heart are influenced by the autonomic nervous system, which comprises of two groups of nerves. When the heart has structural or electrical abnormalities, stimulation by the group of nerves that speed up cardiac contraction can lead to dangerous heart rhythms and sudden cardiac death in the short term, and cause heart failure in the long term. However, nerves that slow down cardiac contraction are able to protect against this. The balance between these two groups of nerves is therefore critical for long term survival in many cardiovascular diseases.

The textbook view of these nerves is that merely respond to reflexes. However, over the last 20 years my research has found that the system is not “hard wired” and their behaviour can be greatly influenced by different local chemical modulators both within the neurons (such as nitric oxide), and from neighbouring neurons (such as neuropeptide Y and galanin), as well as nearby blood vessels (such as CNP and angiotensin II) and the injured heart itself (BNP). My research group studies how these local neuromodulators influence these nerves in order to develop therapeutic strategies for treating cardiovascular disease, and validate their use as potential biomarkers to help with risk stratification and guiding treatment.

Selected Recent Publications

Kalla M, Hao G, Tapoulal N, Tomek J, Liu K, Woodward L, Dall’Armellina E, Banning AP, Choudhury RP, Neubauer S, Kharbanda RK, Channon KM, Ajijola OA, Shivkumar K, Paterson DJ,Herring N. (2020) The cardiac sympathetic co-transmitter neuropeptide-Y is pro-arrhythmic following ST-elevation myocardial infarction despite beta-blockadeEuropean Heart Journal (doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehz852) – see editorial

Ajijola OA, Chatterjee NA, Gonzales MJ, Gornbein J, Liu K, Li D, Paterson DJ, Shivkumar K, Singh JP, Herring N. (2020) Coronary sinus Neuropeptide-Y levels predict adverse outcomes in patients with stable chronic heart failure. JAMA Cardiology 5(3):318-325 – see editorial

Herring N, Kalla M, Paterson DJ. (2019) The nervous system and cardiac arrhythmia: current concepts and emerging therapies. Nature Reviews Cardiology 16(12):707–726.

Herring N, Tapoulal N, Kalla M, Ye X, Borysova L, Lee R, Dall’Armellina E, Stanley C, Ascione R, Lu C, Banning AP, Choudhury RP, Neubauer S, Dora K, Kharbanda RK, Channon KM. (2019) Neuropeptide-Y causes coronary microvascular constriction and is associated with reduced ejection fraction following ST-elevation myocardial infarction. European Heart Journal  40(24):1920-1929. – see editorial

Professor Neil Herring book Core Medical TrainingProfessor Neil Herring book Cardiovascular Physiology