Cathelijne van der Bruggen received NRS Travel Grant
American Heart Conference Orlando, November 2015
Last November I visited the American Heart Conference (AHA) in Orlando, Florida, after I received the NRS travel grant. This conference has been of great value, both to my personal development as for the research we are currently doing in the VU medical center. I am a PhD student in the VU University Medical Center and my research topic is Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH). Although the primary cause of disease in PAH is the pulmonary vasculature, patients die of right heart failure. The abstract I submitted to the AHA was about the role of the main genetic mutation (the BMPR2 mutation) on the response to pressure overload in the right ventricle. A great amount of experts in the field of PAH were present, which gave me the opportunity to learn from their new studies and to discuss my results during the highly interactive poster session. This discussion inspired us to focus more on the metabolism of the right ventricle during pressure overload, and we will add these parameters to our current study. In addition, the oral sessions focused on the genetics of PAH were very interesting and novel. New large studies are conducted to discover new genes and pathways, and via the developments in induced pluripotent stem cells it is possible to assess the role of the mutations on pulmonary vascular endothelial cells via a simple skin biopsy. These discussed novel techniques gave me inspiration to consider implementing them in our research.
Taking this all together I am very thankful for the opportunity the NRS gave me to visit this conference.