August 2012 Spotlight - Loan Le
Loan LeCardiovascular & Hormonal Research Laboratory
Department of Cardiology and Kolling Institute of Medical Research
Royal North Shore Hospital & University of Sydney
St Leonards NSW 2065. Australia
Click here to watch a YouTube interview with Loan Le (by Dylan Burger - New Investigator Committee member).
How did you become interested in research relating to Hypertension?
My interest in research started when I worked as a research assistant with Dr AS Mihailidou to investigate the action of steroid hormones in the heart. This motivated me to pursue a PhD in cardiovascular research.
Describe your research & the program that you are in?
My research project focuses on the cardiac actions of steroid hormones, in particular regulation of aldosterone and mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) during myocardial infarction. I hope to contribute to the better understanding of steroid hormones action in the heart and role of MR in myocardial infarction.
What do you consider to be your substantial scientific contribution so far (provide Pubmed PMID if possible)?
We have recently published a very interesting study which identified a novel target for MR regulation and also how MR blockade significantly protects the heart during reperfusion injury. This will provide potential new therapeutic target patients with acute coronary syndrome to minimize cardiovascular complications. (Le et al. Low-dose spironolactone prevents apoptosis repressor with caspase recruitment domain degradation during myocardial infarction. Hypertension. 2012;59(6):1164-9. PubMed PMID: 22508833).
What is your favourite manuscript from a lab other than your own (provide Pubmed PMID if possible)?
My favourite and most cited manuscripts are:
Pitt et al. The effect of spironolactone on morbidity and mortality in patients with severe heart failure. N Engl J Med. 1999;341:709-17 (PubMed PMID: 10471456).
Pitt et al. Eplerenone, a selective aldosterone blocker, in patients with left ventricular dysfunction after myocardial infarction. N Engl J Med. 2003;348:1309-21 (PubMed PMID: 12668699).
What facilities are essential for your research?
There are various laboratories/divisions within Kolling Institute and offer a range of services to assist students and researchers. Facilities for housing animal, physiological, molecular and tissue culture are all essential for my research project. Having students and researchers co-localised in the same building allow us to exchange ideas, present new findings and discuss projects together, which are important for research.
Where do your research strengths lie? Why? What are your research weaknesses? How will you improve?
My strengths in research include enthusiastic and patient. Although I have struggled with academic writing, I am continuously improving my written communication skills by practising and learning from supervisors.
Describe your unforgettable (proudest) moment in science, and the most challenging situation that you have had to overcome (lessons learnt) so far?
I was very happy when my abstract was selected for student oral finalist at the High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia, Sydney, 2009. That was my first time presenting at a national meeting. The most challenging situation was when my peers and scientists in the field quizzed me. Although I was very nervous, it has been a great experience.
At which conference did you first present? How was your experience?
My first conference presentation was a poster presentation at the Kolling Institute of Medical Research/University of Technology Sydney/University of Sydney/Royal North Shore Hospital scientific meeting in Sydney, 2007. I felt very special for the opportunity to present and interact with other researchers.
What upcoming conferences will you be attending, and what is the furthest distance that you have traveled for a conference?
The conference that I will be attending is the International Society of Hypertension (ISH) at Sydney, 2012. The furthest I have travelled for conference was from Australia to Washington DC, US (2009) and Boston, US (2011), to attend the International Aldosterone Conferences and Endocrine Society meetings. I am thankful for the opportunity to attend these meetings, which provided opportunity for my career path in research by networking with fellow scientists at an international forum and potential for collaborative projects.
How did you learn about ISH/NIN and its activities?
Through my PhD supervisor, Dr AS Mihailidou and HBPRCA’s newsletter
What area(s) do you wish to specialize in the future?
I would like to further enhance my knowledge in cardiovascular diseases including coronary heart disease, cardiac hypertrophy, cardiomyopathy, heart failure and tissue regeneration.
Who is your role model in Science? Why?
My role models in Science are my supervisors (Dr AS Mihailidou, Prof JW Funder and Dr AW Ashton) who are hard working and driven. They have provided insight into new ideas regarding new approaches to our research. I also admire everyone who succeeds in scientific research.
What are your scientific goals? Advise for talented emerging scientists?
My goals are to pursue a career as a postdoctoral scientist once the thesis is submitted at the end of this year and have a continuous career development in translational research.
My advice for talented emerging scientists is work hard, listen to advice and be patient, and most importantly is to balance between work life and family life.