Nilesh Jayantilal Samani, a professor at the University of Leicester whose contribution to Cardiovascular Sciences changed scientific thinking and impacted on clinical practice in the field, has been awarded knighthood in the New Year Honours List.
Samani is among several Indian-origin individuals from various walks of life who have been awarded some of Britain’s highest civilian honours. They include popular marathon runner Fauja Singh, aged 103 (Medallist of the British Empire), and noted actor and author, Meera Syal (Commander of the British Empire).
Samani’s research revealed the genetic basis of cardiovascular diseases, and his notable achievements include the discovery of new genetic variants associated with risk of heart disease, including, in 2007, the discovery of the first common variant that increases the risk of heart attacks.
He has also discovered the relationship between biological ageing and the development of cardiovascular diseases.
Samani said: "I am both surprised and truly delighted to have been awarded this honour. I view it as a recognition of what we have tried to achieve in Leicester - to create a world class clinical and research centre dedicated to improving the treatment of heart diseases”.
He added: “From a personal perspective, I also need to acknowledge the unstinting support of my family who I know are very proud."
The title of Commander of the British Empire was awarded to Shakuntala Michaela Ghosh, for services to Venture Philanthropy and the Voluntary Sector, particularly to the homeless and disadvantaged young people in London.
The same title was conferred on Uma Mehta, chief community services lawyer in the London borough of Islington, for services to children.
The title of Officers of the Order of the British Empire was given to Mohinder Singh Ahluwalia (for services to interfaith and community cohesion), Venugopal Karunakaran Nair (for services to Science), Dilip Nathwani (for services to treatment of infectious diseases), Surat Singh Sangha (for services to entrepreneurship) and Jatinder Kumar Sharma (for services to further education).
The title of Members of the Order of the British Empire was awarded to Subhash Chander Chaudhary (For services to biotechnology manufacture in North East England), Surinder Kaur Ghura (for services to interfaith understanding and to the community in Newcastle upon Tyne), Gurmel Singh Kandola (chief executive, National Sikh Museum, Derby, for services to the community), Surinder Pal Singh Khurana (for services to the community in North East Lincolnshire), Atul Maru (for services to law enforcement), Vanita Parti (for services to the beauty industry and to street children in India), Ushma Patel (for services to public administration and to the community through the Dharmaj Society of London).