University of Sheffield Clinician Scientist Receives a British Heart Foundation Fulbright Award

Dr Roger Thompson, a Clinician Scientist from the University of Sheffield has received a British Heart Foundation Fulbright Award to enable him to research at Stanford University on one of the most well-regarded and impactful scholarship programmes in the world.

As a participant, Dr Thompson will work with Professor Marlene Rabinovitch at a laboratory at the forefront of international research into a rare but devastating disorder, Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. This disease causes breathlessness, heart failure and death due to the narrowing of blood vessels and high blood pressure within the lungs. Dr Thompson’s research aims to find out more about how the body controls blood vessel narrowing with the hope of finding new treatments for this incurable condition.

Dr Thompson and the other 44 British grantees of the 2017-18 Fulbright cohort will celebrate their success at a reception hosted by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office on Thursday 6th July.

Commenting on receiving the Award, Roger said: “Each week in clinic I see patients with pulmonary hypertension who become progressively breathless despite our best efforts with current treatments. These patients frequently require referral for lung transplantation. My long-term aim is to generate new therapies for these patients and improve their quality of life and prognosis. I am therefore excited to be able to continue my research work at Stanford University as a BHF Fulbright Scholar. This fantastic opportunity will equip me with new skills that I can bring back to Sheffield, expanding our research portfolio.”

Penny Egan CBE, Executive Director, US-UK Fulbright Commission said: “The impact of the Fulbright programme can change the world. Our Fulbrighters will return to the UK having been exposed to different cultures, value systems and schools of thought. They will have the capacity to be more empathetic global citizens and be better prepared for collaboration across borders, between the US and the UK, and beyond.”

Amy Moore, Director of the Fulbright Awards Programme, added: “No greater example of the continued importance of international education can be found than in the determination and drive of our 2017-18 grantees. These students, academics and professionals have identified the relevance of intercultural cooperation to their careers. As Fulbright alumni and future leaders, they will be able to foster personal and professional connections between nations.”

The Fulbright Commission provides the only bi-lateral, transatlantic scholarship programme, offering Awards for study or research in any field, at any accredited US or UK university.

The Commission selects scholars through a rigorous application and interview process, looking for academic excellence alongside a focused application, a range of extracurricular and community activities, demonstrated ambassadorial skills, a desire to further the Fulbright Programme and a plan to give back to the UK upon returning.

Typical grants include a maintenance allowance and/or a contribution towards tuition fees. Fulbright scholars receive administrative support and a cultural education programme including: visa processing, a comprehensive pre-departure orientation, enrichment opportunities in the USA, a re-entry session and access to a global alumni network.

Scholar Bio:

Roger Thompson is a respiratory Clinician Scientist based at the University of Sheffield and Honorary Consultant at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. He graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2002, moving to Sheffield in 2006 to take up a NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship. In 2012, he completed a MRC-funded PhD having studied how cellular oxygen sensors influence inflammatory responses. Working in Sheffield, he developed a specialist clinical interest in pulmonary hypertension, a devastating condition characterised by progressive remodelling of blood vessels in the lung that leads to heart failure and death. To build a deeper understanding of the processes controlling blood vessel remodelling and develop international collaborations to help treat pulmonary hypertension, Roger will work with Professor Marlene Rabinovitch at Stanford University, a laboratory at the forefront of research into this disease. Roger will explore how lung cells sense and respond to damage and hopes that this approach will identify new treatments that stop or reverse blood vessel remodelling in pulmonary hypertension.

Useful Links:

Pulmonary Vascular Disease Unit
Fulbright Commission
British Heart Foundation