You are here: Home Teaching & Research Academic staff by name Professor Martin Farrall


Professor Martin Farrall

University Lecturer in Cardiovascular Genetics

Fellow by Special Election, Keble College


I am a University Lecturer in Cardiovascular Genetics. I research the genetic basis of common cardiovascular diseases such as coronary artery disease and high blood pressure. I also assist with the tutorial teaching of medical and physiology students (specifically teaching medical and molecular genetics).

Research Interests

I am a genetic epidemiologist, a specialized branch of human genetics, in which we develop and apply statistical techniques to study the molecular and population genetics of inherited human diseases. We collaborate with UK and European academic groups to undertake large-scale genetic studies of common cardiovascular diseases and associated quantitative traits (so called "intermediate phenotypes"). These diseases have a multifactorial basis with numerous genetic and environmental causes - our task is to design experiments and analyse the data to reliably detect individual genetic effects.  My research has major programmes in several disease areas: coronary artery disease (myocardial infarction or "heart attack" and angina), essential hypertension (high blood pressure), cerebrovscular disease ("stroke"), congenital heart disease and pre-eclampsia (hypertensive disease of prengnancy). These studies involve the collection of extensive series of families as well as unrelated cases and controls through clinical collaborative networks. In the past we undertook genome-wide linkage screens to identify putative susceptibility genes associated with significant genetic effects and then attempted to "positionally cloning" several linked regions. This latter work involved high-resolution mapping using gene-association methods. More recently, we are contributing to pioneering genome-association studies that have already identified novel susceptibility genes for several diseases. I am also very interested in the molecular basis of quantitative variation in human genes. In the past we have had lots of fun studying the angiotensin-1 converting enzyme (ACE), which has led to the development of new statistical genetics methods to analyse the effects of extended haplotypes as they segregate through families. More recently, with collaborators in London and Paris, we have been working on QTL mapping of foetal haemoglobin levels, a tractable human quantitative trait which we hope will provide some general insights into the nature of human quantitative genetic variation. Indeed this research has identified novel genes that may modify the effects of inherited haemaglobinopathies.

Recent Publications

  • Kyriakou, T. ... Farrall, M. et al., 'A common LPA null allele associates with lower lipoprotein(a) levels and coronary artery disease' in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, 34 (2014), 2095-2099
  • P. Deloukas ... M. Farrall.. et al., 'Large-scale association analysis identifies new risk loci for coronary artery disease' in Nature Genetics, 45(1) (2013), 25-53
  • IBC 50K CAD CONSORTIUM, 'Large-scale gene-centric analysis identifies novel variants for coronary artery disease' in PLoS Genet, 7(9) (2011), e1002260
  • J.F. Peden and M. Farrall, 'Thirty-five common variants for coronary artery disease: the fruits of much collaborative labour' in Hum. Mol. Genet., 20(R2) (2011), R198-R205
  • Elliott P, ....Farrall M,.... & Kooner JS., 'Genetic Loci associated with C-reactive protein levels and risk of coronary heart disease' in JAMA, 302 (2009), 37-48
  • Clarke R, Peden JF, Hopewell JC, Kyriakou T, Goel A, Heath SC, Parish S, Barlera S, Franzosi MG, Rust S, Bennett D, Silveira A, Malarstig A, Green FR, Lathrop M, Gigante B, Leander K, de Faire U, Seedorf U, Hamsten A, Collins R, Watkins H, Farrall M, 'Genetic variants associated with Lp(a) lipoprotein level and coronary disease' in New England Journal of Medicine, 361 (2009), 2518-28
  • Menzel S, Garner C, Gut I, Matsuda F, Yamaguchi M, Heath S, Foglio M, Zelenika D, Boland A, Rooks H, Best S, Spector TD, Farrall M, Lathrop M, Thein SL, 'A QTL influencing F cell production maps to a gene encoding a zinc-finger protein on chromosome 2p15' in Nature Genetics, 39 (2007), 1197-9
  • Moffatt MF,...., Farrall M, Gut IG, Lathrop G, 'Genetic variants regulating ORMDL3 expression contribute to the risk of childhood asthma' in Nature, 448 (2007), 470-3
  • Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium, 'Genome-wide association study of 14,000 cases of seven common diseases and 3,000 shared controls' in Nature, 447 (2007), 661-78
  • Watkins H, Farrall M, 'Genetic susceptibility to coronary artery disease: from promise to progress.' in Nature Reviews Genetics, 7 (2006), 163-73
  • Bell JT, Wallace C, Dobson R, Wiltshire S, Mein C, Pembroke J, Brown M, Clayton D, Samani N, Dominiczak A, Webster J, Lathrop GM, Connell J, Munroe P, Caulfield M, Farrall M., 'Two-dimensional genome-scan identifies novel epistatic loci for essential hypertension.' in Human Molecular Genetics, 15 (2006), 1365-74

Academic Biography

  • University Lecturer in Cardiovascular Genetics Department of Cardiovascular Medicine University of Oxford (1999 - present)
  • Head of Applications Statistical Genetics Group The Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics Oxford (1994 - 1999)
  • MRC Scientist Molecular Medicine group MRC Clinical Sciences Centre London (1989 - 1994)
  • Clinical Research Fellow Dept. Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics St. Mary's Hospital Medical School London (1984 - 1989)

College Contact Details

Professor Martin Farrall
Keble College
Telephone: 01865 287601
Fax: 01865 287501 (not confidential)

Faculty/Dept. Information

Dept. Cardiovascular Medicine
The Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics
Roosevelt Drive