April 2012 Spotlight - Paraskevi Christofidou
Paraskevi ChristofidouDepartment of Cardiovascualr Sciences
University of Leicester.Leicester, U.K.
How did you become interested in research relating to Hypertension?
As an MSc student I realised how important (yet difficult) is to elucidate and understand the biological mechanisms of cardiovascular disease. This inspired me tremendously to pursue a PhD in cardiovascular genetics.
Describe your research & the program/lab (info of your supervisor) that you are in?
My project focuses on rare recessive alleles and their role in genetic predisposition to coronary artery disease (CAD). Using large genetic resources (well phenotyped cohorts) and novel methods of genetic analysis I try to identify whether lower frequency alleles with large effects on the phenotype may explain some of the “missing” heritability of CAD.
What do you consider to be your substantial scientific contribution so far (provide Pubmed PMID if possible)?
The fact that I am a co-author of three original contributions published in top journals including “Hypertension”, “Journal of American Society of Nephrology” and “the Lancet”.
What is your favourite manuscript from a lab other than your own (provide Pubmed PMID if possible)?
What facilities are essential for your research?
Biological experiments can generate very large amounts of data. Good bioinformatic and statistical tools are essential for managing, analysing appropriately and understanding that data.
Where do your research strengths lie? Why? What are your research weaknesses? How will you improve?
My experiences have prepared me to deal with many challenges and have shown me that motivation, determination, resilience and strength are an innate part of my character. I am well aware that the research path can be stressful and disappointing. Stamina is needed to deal with the exhausting workloads, challenges and frustrations that arise daily. My research weakness is my limited knowledge of statistical programs. I try really hard to improve my skills by talking to our statisticians, attending training courses, reading and practising.
Describe your unforgettable (proudest) moment in science, and the most challenging instance that you had to overcome (lessons learnt) so far?
Having the opportunity to work with other international collaborators from top centres around the world it is a real honour and exceptional educational experience for a PhD student. However, the lesson I have learnt is that hard work, organization and professionalism are key elements to preventing error and guarantee high quality research. Managing time effectively and efficiently is another key for success.
Which conference did you first present in? How was your experience?
My first presentation was at the Third Annual Progress Meeting from Cardiogenics Consortium in Italy. I enjoyed this experience and I took the opportunity to meet some of the most distinguished scientists with an enviable reputation in cardiovascular research: it was a real honour and exceptional experience.
What upcoming conferences will you be attending, and what is the furthest you have traveled for a conference?
The conference I would like to attend is the “American Heart Association” in Los Angeles 2012. This is the world's largest and most prestigious cardiovascular conference gathering of scientists and health care professionals devoted to the science of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
How did you know about ISH/NIN and its activities?
Through my PhD supervisor Dr M. Tomaszewski.
What area(s) do you wish to specialize in the future?
I would like to further enrich my knowledge in cardiovascular genetics as I find it exciting and exquisite.
Who is your role model in research? Why?
My role models in research are both of my supervisors. Two esteemed medical scientists and hard-working individuals
What are your scientific goals? Advise for talented emerging scientists?
I would like to succeed and be a valuable asset in cardiovascular research. I have been told that “Life is not easy!”…I appreciate that...but I strongly believe that only one thing makes a dream impossible to achieve “The fear of failure”.