How did you become interested in research relating to Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease?
I made the realisation about the importance of hypertension research during my research involvement in preeclampsia, in which high blood pressure is a main contributing factor. This inspired me to pursue a PhD in the field of preeclampsia.
Describe your research & the program/lab (info of your supervisor) that you are in?
My research largely focuses on better understanding the pathogenesis of preeclampsia, in particular the role of two biomarkers (sFlt-1 and PlGF) in hypertensive and proteinuric patients. I receive guidance from Dr. Willy Visser and conduct my experiments at Prof. Danser’s lab.
What do you consider to be your substantial scientific contribution so far (provide Pubmed PMID if possible)?
I started my PhD 10 months ago, so my research is still in its early stages. However, I have contributed to the field thus far through publishing the following:
– Association studies suggest a key role for endothelin-1 in the pathogenesis of preeclampsia and the accompanying Renin-Angiotensin-aldosterone system suppression. PMID: 25870197.
–Etiology of angiogenesis inhibition-related hypertension. PMID: 25500206
What is your favourite manuscript from a lab or mentor other than your own (provide Pubmed PMID if possible)?
There are many remarkable manuscripts of hypertensive diseases in pregnancy but my favourite is from Verlohren and colleagues, entitled: “New gestational phase-specific cutoff values for the use of the soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1/placental growth factor ratio as a diagnostic test for preeclampsia.” (PMID: 24166751)
What facilities are essential for your research?
We use the automated elecsys immunoassays by Roche to measure the concentration of the sFlt-1 and PlGF in the serum.
Where do your research strengths lie? Why? What are your research weaknesses? How will you improve?
Our strengths lie in our stimulating work environment, which includes weekly research discussions and extensive collaborations with peers. I enjoy learning new things. But I realise that the field of medicine and research is broad and requires a lot of investment in time and effort. I am particularly focusing on my PhD thesis for now but plan to expand my knowledge and skills with time.
Describe your unforgettable (proudest) moment in science, and the most challenging situation that you have had to overcome (lessons learnt) so far?
My proudest moment was presenting at the 2014 Pregnancy Summit in London, where I attended the conference alone; although challenging and nerve racking, I managed to win the poster prize.
At which conference did you first present? How was your experience?
My first oral presentation was at the ESH in Milan. It was a privilege to have the chance to meet such great researchers from the top teaching schools. I also enjoyed the opportunity to meet the hypertension experts during the New Investigator Committee networking event.
What upcoming conferences will you be attending, and what is the furthest distance that you have traveled for a conference?
I will be attending the AHA hypertension scientific session in Washington, DC and the ISSHP in Budapest, both in September 2015.
How did you learn about ISH/NIN and its activities?
I learned about ISH through my colleagues.
What area(s) do you wish to specialize in the future?
My hope is to specialize in the field of gynaecology and to continue my research in the field of hypertension during pregnancy.
Who is your role model in Science? Why?
Gertrude B. Elion, biochemist and pharmacologist, worked tirelessly to discover numerous drugs including many in common use today. Her achievements, her curiosity about the world around her, her generosity, and her concern for humanity make her a valuable role model for me. And she was also an avid photographer, an eager traveler, and a true opera enthusiast as I am too.
What are your scientific goals? Advise for talented emerging scientists?
My goal is to become an experienced researcher in the field of hypertension in pregnancy and to help find a cure. My advice is to love what you’re working on, and to follow closely the guidelines for publication as to prevent errrors!