Steps in Research funded by The Big Walk

The University has chosen a team of 20 alumni, staff and friends to take part in a special fundraising walk covering the Pennine Way – 286 miles in 14 days. This national trail is celebrating its 50th anniversary year and is described as the one of the most spectacular and well loved trails in the UK. The team will set off from Sheffield on Wednesday 2nd September and will take their first steps on the Big Walk on Thursday 3rd September. The itinerary sees them walking for up to 26.5 miles per day in their quest to raise awareness and funding for lung disease research in Sheffield. On the final day (Thursday 17th September) the team will walk from Edale to Sheffield.

One of the lung diseases researched at the University of Sheffield is pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). PAH is a devastating condition in which the blood pressure within the lungs is much higher than normal, putting an enormous strain on the heart. There is currently no cure for PAH but at Sheffield we are already making exciting discoveries that we hope will lead to better treatments and ultimately defeat this condition. The funds we raise from this event will help to accelerate our research into the development of much needed new treatments and make a real difference to lives of patients with PAH.

Professor Tony Weetman (Faculty Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Medicine Dentistry & Health) and Professor Tony Ryan (Faculty Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Science) will lead the team of walkers which includes Dr Allan Lawrie (BHF Senior Research Fellow) and Professor Jim Wild (Professor of Magnetic Resonance Physics) from the Department of Cardiovascular Science on the Big Walk.  Sheffield is a major international centre for the diagnosis, treatment and research of this condition. We are already making exciting discoveries that we hope will lead to better treatments and ultimately defeat this condition. The money we raise from this event will accelerate our research and help us to develop and test new treatments and make them available for patients as quickly as possible. Both Allan and Jim work on gaining further insight into this condition – Jim develops new diagnostic magnetic resonance imaging techniques and Allan works to develop future therapies to aid patient treatment.

Dr Allan Lawrie

AllanLawrie
Dr Allan Lawrie


Allan first became interested in pulmonary hypertension during his post-doctoral studies at Stanford University, California. He obtained a Medical School Russell Fellowship to return to Sheffield at the end of 2004. Allan’s research has led to a Medical Research Council Career Development Award in 2008, and a British Heart Foundation Senior Research Fellowship in 2013.

Allan leads the pre-clinical research in Sheffield and has a built research group with a strong focus on patient impact. He runs a blood bio bank working closely with NHS colleagues in the Sheffield Pulmonary Vascular Disease Unit, and through a translational MRC award, is working closely with commercial partners to develop novel therapies.

Allan is a keen sportsman although now mostly through his 2 children. Having grown up on a hill farm in Perthshire, Allan is looking forward to stomping over the Pennine Way to raise money for what is a devastating disease for those affected.

Professor Jim Wild

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Professor Jim Wild


Jim works on the development and application of new techniques for functional MR imaging of the lungs . In the last 15 years he has worked closely with the Sheffield Pulmonary Vascular Disease Unit developing new imaging techniques for the diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension and he is very supportive of this cause.

Jim is a native Sheffield walker and climber of 30 years. He has aspired to walk the Pennine Way  since bogtrotting on Kinder and Bleaklow as a youth. His training will consist of circuits of the Porter valley with one of his kids on his back.

To make a donation to Allan Lawrie visit: JustGiving.com/Allan-Lawrie
To make a donation to Jim Wild visit: JustGiving.com/J-Wild
To make a donation to The Big Walk Team visit: justgiving.com/teams/thebigwalk2015