Emily Dookun, PhD student
Newcastle University, Institute of Genetic Medicine
This year the Spring 2018 joint meeting between the BSCR and BAS was held at the BCS annual conference at Manchester Central on 4th-5th June 2018. This is one of two annual meetings that the BSCR and BAS organise. However, having been hosted alongside the BCS, this conference provided excellent opportunities to engage and learn more about the clinical research that is conducted alongside the basic science research that is driven by the BSCR/BAS meetings. This year marked the 7th joint meeting, and was composed of a varied selection of lectures and presentations with a particular focus on the following topics: Ageing and senescence in the cardiovascular system; Nanomedicine for the future diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease; Inflammation as a link between hypertension and cardiovascular risk?; a translational session on Inflammation in the pathogenesis and treatment of coronary heart disease and acute coronary syndrome; and Disease modelling in a dish.
The meeting commenced with the session on “Ageing and senescence in the cardiovascular system”. Being a relatively infantile topic within the scope of cardiovascular research, and being a PhD student with a strong interest and focus on cardiac senescence in my project, this was truly an exciting session led by world leading researchers in the field. Furthering my understanding of senescence throughout the cardiovascular system and its role in numerous disorders was fascinating. As well as this, discussing my work with these prominent researchers at the poster sessions and conference dinner was fantastic and has really benefitted me as a second year student in directing my project in new and exciting directions going into my final year, and hopefully forged future collaborations with.
The other sessions over both the first and second day were equally informative and all linked together nicely, especially with the ‘Hot Topic’ sessions, covering subjects from iPS cells differentiation into cardiomyocytes, to the potential applications of nanomedicine in treating cardiovascular disease, as well as linking inflammation to oxidative stress and hypertension across many talks.
The first day ended with a stimulating keynote John French Lecture given by Dr Sarah De Val. Her work at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at Oxford University is highly impressive. By using enhancer analysis, Dr De Val and her team are furthering our understanding of the many complex and integrated regulatory pathways that are involved in the regulation of blood vessel growth both during development and disease. The complexity of this work and the implications it may have across the entire scope of cardiovascular disease is extraordinary. As well, her story about how her work and lab has developed though the difficulties and complications that many labs experience was, to a young researcher, inspiring.
Afterwards, the BHF hosted a drinks reception where they updated the BSCR and BAS delegates on their work and future directions. Very few labs would be able to conduct the ground-breaking research that they do without t
he generous support of the BHF, so hearing how our work can feedback to help the BHF was motivating. Continuing on this theme and concluding the meeting was the BCS keynote lecture given by Professor Martin Cowie. Hearing his thoughts on translating basic science into the clinic was interesting and a unique experience, especially considering his roles within the ESC, NICE, numerous prominent journals as well as many other national and international societies and associations.
As the BSCR and BAS always like to include a strong focus on early career investigators, there was a stimulating session on the second day comprising of four talks. All talks were very thought-provoking and demonstrate the amazing impact that we as young researchers can have driving research within our labs. Special congratulations has to be made to the winner Dr Edgar for his work dissecting the relationship between diabetes and atherosclerosis via inflammation, and the runner up Dr Kaier for his work on cardiac myosin-binding protein C and its potential to aid in the diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction. Translating basic science research to a clinical setting is essential to ensure that medicine continues to progress and improve.
I’d like to thank the BSCR for contributing towards my expenses, and to them and the BAS for the opportunity to present my work entitled “Accumulation of Cardiomyocyte Senescence following Ischaemia-Reperfusion Injury; a potential therapeutic target?” as a poster at this prominent meeting. Cardiovascular science has always really interested me, and I am rapidly developing a real passion for senescence and regenerative medicine. This conference was a fantastic opportunity to network and further my interests. I greatly look forward to attending the next BSCR/BAS conference!