School hosts 27th meeting of Scottish Cardiovascular Forum

Sunday 17 March 2024

On Saturday, 3 February, the University of St Andrews had the pleasure of co-hosting the 27th annual meeting of the Scottish Cardiovascular Forum (SCF) with the University of Dundee. Held at St Andrews School of Medicine and attended by 104 delegates, the event was organised by SCF committee members Dr Samantha Pitt (Head of the Cellular Medicine Research Division, St Andrews) and Dr Colin E. Murdoch (Reader in Systems Medicine, Dundee).

Established in 1997, the SCF annual meeting aims to foster integration, encourage collaboration, and disseminate information among basic science and clinical cardiovascular researchers across the UK and Ireland. It now places particular emphasis on providing an opportunity for PhD students and early career researchers to present data on a range of cardiovascular research-related topics, including cardiac development, thrombosis, vascular physiology, pharmacology and drug discovery, genetics and metabolism.

This year’s event opened with a keynote lecture from Head of School and Dean of Medicine Professor David Crossman entitled “Mutable mechanisms of cardiovascular disease.” Acknowledging the rapidly increasing global rates of heart disease, Professor Crossman nevertheless offered a hopeful perspective, exploring a range of promising intervention targets for treatment and prevention.

Three oral presentation sessions followed in which undergraduate, postgraduate and post-doctoral researchers presented their work on the following themes:

  1. “An insight into Metabolic Syndrome”
  2. “Disentangling the molecular pathways in vascular dysfunction” and
  3. “Cardiovascular Disease – From the heart to platelets”

Session 3 included presentations by two members of the School’s Cellular Medicine Division. Postdoctoral research associate Dr Amy Dorward discussed “Knock-out of MG23 cardioprotects against pressure-overload induced cardiac hypertrophy and cardiac dysfunction,” while PhD student Jordan Marsh  presented his work on “Identification and examination of Mitsugumin 23 within platelets.”

The afternoon began with talks by four nominees for the Roger Wadsworth Prize, which recognises the most outstanding oral presentation at each SCF conference. Named for former Strathclyde University Professor of Cardiovascular Pharmacology and founding SCF member Roger M. Wadsworth, the award was established by Prof. Wadsworth’s family in 2014. Presentation topics included genetics, physiology, and pharmacology, with Matthew Ennis’ (Ulster University) talk on “Genetic risk factors associated with the multimorbid development of chronic kidney disease by cardiovascular disease patients” receiving the award. Oral and poster prizes sponsored by the British Heart Foundation and Physiological Society were also awarded.

The final presentation and second keynote lecture of the day was delivered by Professor Isla Mackenzie, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Honorary Consultant Physician at the University of Dundee and Ninewells Hospital. Drawing on her extensive experience optimising clinical trials across the UK and Europe, her presentation explored “Streamlining cardiovascular clinical trials – generating quality data while enhancing the participant experience.”

Feedback on the day was overwhelmingly positive, with one attendee writing, “Well done on organising a fantastic event; I thoroughly enjoyed it!” Dr Pitt was delighted by the success of the conference and would like to thank her co-organiser Dr Murdoch; the keynote speakers, session chairs, and judges; and the conference sponsors* for their support. She looks forward to participating in next year’s meeting hosted by the University of Edinburgh!

*Sponsors: The British Heart Foundation, the Physiological Society, Fujifilm Visualsonics, Merck, Thistle Scientific, and the University of St Andrews School of Medicine.

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