BMedSci Success for IICD Sheffield University Students

Many students undertaking an undergraduate medicine degree take the opportunity to gain valuable experience in a research environment and this year is no exception. Congratulations to the BMedSci students who were recently hosted by the Department of Infection, Immunity & Cardiovascular Disease. The results of their hard work have recently been announced and there are plenty of reasons to celebrate. The Department is delighted and very proud to support medical students in exploring medical research as a future career option.

Professor Julian Gunn said “I was delighted to have four excellent BMedSci students working with us this year on computer modelling of coronary artery disease. They received experience in how we manage patients, a lot of understanding of coronary angiography and stenting, and are now experts using the latest software tools in our workflow. And everyone got fantastic results. I am very proud of them all!”

Hugh (Sein) Son

Project title: “How does virtual (computed) fractional flow reserve compare with clinical measurement in patients with coronary artery disease?”

Hugh (Sein) SonI was given an opportunity to do my BMedSci research under supervision of Professor Gunn, Dr Paul Morris and Dr Rebecca Gosling throughout the year. I have successfully completed my BMedSci with first class honours. Not only just about the project, I have learnt and gained a lot throughout the year. I have enhanced a lot of critical skills that are required as a researcher including my journal analytical skills, writing skills and time management skills. Most importantly I have met numerous nice people including BMedSci colleagues Ben, James and Andy, who have been really supportive throughout the year; PhD students Marco and Martina; Becky, Paul and lastly Professor Gunn. This year has been fruitful and the project has really encouraged me to go into research and explore more about being a cardiologists in the future.

Shavinthi Wadanamby

Project title: “In situ analysis of macrophage phenotypes in carotid atherosclerotic plaques as an indicator of pathogenesis and potential therapeutic targets.”

I was lucky to get involved in a multi-disciplinary project last year involving collaborations between SITraN, IICD, Vascular surgery and the Radiology departments at Sheffield. We hypothesised that novel populations of macrophages (other than previously reported in literature) are present in carotid atherosclerotic plaques. Our main aim was to devise a protocol to identify these macrophages and identify their role in plaque instability. Auxiliary to this we aimed to set up an imaging and analysis protocol to use the 3T scanner at the academic unit of radiology to identify plaque features of instability in vivo.

The research experience gained was invaluable with the opportunity to learn a multitude of skills ranging from laboratory techniques to MRI image analysis to even people skills from a range of professionals! Difficulties faced at the bench and patient recruitment was far too real and definitely showed me the less glorious side of research and the fortunate joy in the smaller victories. The entire experience has definitely sparked a research interest in me and look forward to more research in the future! Finally quick thank you to everyone that tolerated us BMedSci students and our often clueless faces across the last year and helped us immensely along the way!

Benjamin Gregory

Project title: “What will be the impact of virtual coronary physiology upon the practice of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI)?”

I very much enjoyed the year I spent working with the department for my BMedSci. I managed to learn a lot of new skills and gained invaluable experience in medical research whilst also feeling like a valued member of the research team. I will carry forward what I learned and use it to shape my future medical career, wherever it takes me.

James Dunnill

Project title: “What is the impact of virtual (computed) coronary physiology upon the management of stable angina”

It was a small pilot study that looked on the impact of using virtual fractional flow reserve (vFFR),derived from the VIRTUheart workflow, on the management of patients with stable angina. It compared management patients had already received from standard X-ray angiographic assessment to the management suggested by vFFR.

I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the VIRTUheart workflow and computing vFFR. I was a novice in both academic research and virtual modelling when I started so am very pleased on what I have achieved. I could not have done it without my supervisors Professor Gunn, Dr, Morris, Dr Gosling and the rest of the VIRTUheart team!

Professor Sheila Francis, Head of Department said “One measure of a successful academic Department is the quality of its research students. This year thirteen students in IICD were awarded a first class honours BMedSci degree. I warmly congratulate the students for all their hard work and their supervisors for inspirational teaching and strong support.”