26 June 2019

ESC & ERS Travelling Fellowship Award winners

We are pleased to announce the GSK 2019 Travel Grants awardees

We are pleased to announce the Travel Fellowship awardees for 2019 and we would like to extend our thanks to GSK for funding the award. As an organisation, we continually strive for opportunities to support the careers of our emerging members and are delighted to see the winners enjoy the benefits of attending two of the most popular events in the PH calendar. Please see below for the winners and excerpts from their applications. 

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Michael McGettrick, Golden Jubilee National Hospital (Scotland, UK)

"I am in the first of three years as a clinical research fellow in the Scottish Pulmonary Vascular Unit, Glasgow. My interest is particularly in imaging in pulmonary hypertension. The work we have submitted is my first project looking at the effect of exercise rehabilitation on the heart, and specifically ventricular function as measured by cardiac MRI, with some significant results correlating to quality of life and exercise capacity. We understand we are one of the first groups to demonstrate this, and the Travel Fellowship provides an opportunity for these findings to be disseminated to the research community.

We are planning further work in cardiac MRI. We have submitted an application to look at non-invasive assessment of pulmonary blood flow in patients with chronic thromboembolic disease using MRI 4D Flow. This is a feasibility study looking at 4D flow of blood in a total of ten patients with chronic thromboembolic disease and chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension, and comparing this with healthy subjects. Based on the results, we plan to apply for funding to do a larger trial looking at non-invasive assessment of blood flow.

This Award is an opportunity to further my knowledge and awareness of other imaging techniques being used in pulmonary hypertension at present through exposure to other research and networking with other members of the research community. This will also aid me to further refine my future research in non-invasive imaging."

Geeshath Jayasekera, University Hospital, Monklands (Scotland, UK) 

"I am currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Glasgow. The focus of my clinical research is to identify advanced cardiac imaging techniques in patients with pulmonary hypertension and pioneering translational imaging techniques in animal models of pulmonary hypertension. I have been a sub-investigator in various clinical trials with an aim to gaining pathophysiological insights into pulmonary vasculature, as well as identifying novel pharmacological treatment.

My research so far has afforded me the opportunity to prepare and deliver oral and poster presentations on clinical cases and imaging techniques both internationally and within the UK, facilitating networking opportunities and the sharing of practise in this area. Most recently I have presented at conferences including the American Thoracic Society, European Respiratory Society, and Society of Cardiovascular MRI meetings. Further, I have recently authored peer reviewed publications in this field and have co-authored a Harvard University Press book chapter “Advanced Imaging in Pulmonary hypertension”.

This Award is a tremendous opportunity to gain insight into ongoing research in pulmonary vascular medicine and also provides a great platform to network with colleagues from all over Europe."

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Nkemamaka Okonkwo, Royal Free Hospital (London, UK)

"A budding cardiologist recently selected to start a five-year cardiology training programme in London starting in Autumn 2019, it is a privilege to attend what is one of the most widely recognised cardiology conferences globally. Being offered the opportunity to attend the ESC congress through this Fellowship also serves to aid my own personal and professional development within the field and beyond.

Having attended at ESC Heart Failure 2018 as a delegate and oral presenter, I understand the quality of these conferences and the vast amount of knowledge that is shared and discussed, as well as new skills that one can gain. Furthermore, believing myself to be a highly motivated, hard-working and proactive individual, who is enthusiastic about the discovery of novel areas in research and academia, attending conferences of this calibre is inspiring and motivating. Indeed, my interest has circulated on identifying these opportunities within cardiology that require further exploration.

To that point, noting that there is a disproportionate burden of pulmonary hypertension in resource-poor settings, particularly low and middle-income countries in Africa, my future intention is to pursue an MD research project as part of my cardiology training, dedicated to understanding the nuances of pulmonary vascular disease is this underserved cohort. At present there is a paucity of data in these resource-limited areas and I have a keen interest sparked through my current role, on examining the relationship of HIV, rheumatic fever, congenital heart disease (CHD) on pulmonary hypertension in Africa. My hope, and indeed aim, is through collaboration with the PVRI and even international health organisations such as the WHO, one can begin to address these discrepancies that are often fueled by limited access to technology/diagnostics or affordable treatment. I believe these rugged settings require the use of frugal and disruptive technologies, risk-scoring systems or stratification tools that can help identify individuals early across the spectrum of mild to severe pulmonary hypertension in order to establish appropriate timely management or reduce the need for sparsely available invasive cardiac catheterisation.

I appreciate the opportunity to attend the ESC, not only because of my commitment to specialty and belief in continuous learning, but also because of the value it creates for expanding and realising my research goals."

Hossam Fayed, Royal Free Hospital (London, UK)

"It has been a great privilege that our work has been accepted for oral presentation in a pulmonary hypertension session in the ESC annual congress in Munich last summer. This Award is a unique opportunity, not only to gain the experience of presenting this data in a the biggest cardiology meeting in the world, but also to attend several educational meetings and to connect with the world experts in the field."

We have collaborated with GSK for a third consecutive year to enable promising young doctors to participate in these prestigious Congresses. We are very grateful to GSK for providing this valuable support.
Stephanie Barwick Chief Executive


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