NZ Cardiac Medal awarded to Prof A Mark Richards in 2024

The NZ Committee of CSANZ, on behalf of the members, were delighted to award Prof A Mark Richards the NZ Cardiac Medal at the ASM in Christchurch in June 2024.

In presenting the award, Selwyn Wong outlined Mark’s long and illustrious career in cardiology. Mark has been a Consultant cardiologist in Canterbury since 1987. He has an outstanding research career covering many aspects of heart disease with over 900 peer-reviewed scientific publications and over 1500 peer-reviewed abstracts. Included in this is world-leading work on cardiac peptides, including NT-ProBNP, the measurement of which is central to the clinical diagnosis and management of heart failure.

Prof Richards

Arguably, his greatest contribution has been developing and leading two important research institutions. He has directed the Christchurch Heart Institute (CHI) since its founding in 1996. CHI has grown and evolved to become the leading cardiovascular research institution in New Zealand. It has a team of 50 undertaking collaborative work across the spectrum from biochemistry and omics to animal studies to clinical trials and now Pacific studies. It produces roughly 100 peer-reviewed publications per year and has been awarded $27m in external funding. Keeping a part-time role at CHI, Mark moved to Singapore in 2009 to lead the Cardiovascular Research Institute at the National University Heart Centre. This went from a team of 3 scientists and 4 technical staff to >200 scientists, >1000 publications and S$150m in external grants over the next 14 years.

Mark’s many awards have included the RT Hall Prize CSANZ 1995, National Heart Foundation Chair of Cardiovascular Studies 1997, Fellow of the Royal Society of NZ 2001, the Charles Hercus Medal for Biomedical Research 2008, the Canterbury Medical Research Foundation Inaugural Lifetime Achievement in Research Award 2021. Professor Richards is now full-time back in Christchurch. I’m sure you’ll agree with Mark Webster’s comment that there could not be a more appropriate recipient.