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Prof. P. Sengupta: Bringing together humanitarianism and innovation

Prof. P. Sengupta is Director of Interventional Echocardiography and Cardiac Ultrasound Research and Core Lab and a Prof. of Medicine in Cardiology at Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, NY, USA. He will give the EuroEcho-Imaging Lecture: “Cardiac imaging in the era of precision medicine”, during The research in imaging in the world – EuroEcho- Imaging Lecture session on Friday 14:00–15:30, Room Wagner.



Prof. Sengupta was born in Nagpur, India. His father was a physician, and his mother is an obstetrician and gynaecologist. They ran a small health clinic and his first inspiration in cardiology came from his father, who made him listen to heart sounds as a boy and would explain interesting cases. Motivated by his father, Prof. Sengupta gave a science talk in his school on the workings of the heart.

At medical school, he won a record number of prizes and gold medals. He then completed his residency in Nagpur and his first thesis, in 1994, was on dobutamine stress echocardiography, which led him to win the national young investigator award. This, in turn, attracted JC Mohan, an echocardiographer in New Delhi, who would become an influential mentor. Prof. Sengupta subsequently completed three years of cardiology training at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi.

Prof. Bijoy Khandheria invited Prof. Sengupta to join the Mayo Clinic in 2003. His seminal work in myocardial architecture and myocardial mechanics won him the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE)’s young investigator award in 2004. From there, beside his proliferating research, he completed his internal medicine residency and clinical cardiology fellowship. In 2010, Prof. Jagat Narula at the University of California, Irvine recruited him as Director of Non-Invasive Cardiology. Prof. Sengupta then moved to New York to direct the cardiac ultrasound research laboratory at Mount Sinai Medical Center, as well as the interventional echocardiography programs.

Taking to the clouds

A few years ago, Prof. Sengupta joined the ASE’s international committee. One of his first projects was to go to India and combine innovation, humanitarianism, industry support, membership engagement, education and research simultaneously over 2 days. The project aimed to test the feasibility of performing focused echocardiographic studies with Web-based assessments. The Remote Echocardiography with Web-Based Assessments for Referrals at a Distance (ASE-REWARD) Study involved over 1000 examinations across India over two days, which were uploaded into the cloud and read by over 75 institutions worldwide.1

From this, Prof. Sengupta created new types of datasets and showed how echocardiography could be done in novel ways. Three more large-scale studies have since been completed, and the ASE and several European and South American societies have adopted this model of humanitarian collaboration.

Harnessing the power of teams

Prof. Sengupta was nominated to give the ASE’s 14th Feigenbaum Lecturership. Taking inspiration from Hollywood, music and the stage, he wanted to adapt holographic shows for his lecture, but found that they were far too expensive. He instead crowdsourced the lecture, bringing together a dozen engineers from India, Europe, Canada and the USA to create the first holographic talk. This was given at the ASE in 2013, and can be found on YouTube (https:// youtu.be/l5oFUDlA50E).

Just before EuroEcho-Imaging, Prof. Sengupta delivered a TEDMED talk in Palm Springs to demonstrate innovation in cardiac ultrasound technologies. He is the chair of the ASE innovation award task force and his mission this year is to focus on technologies that speed up diagnosis and allow better decision making with more time available for taking care of patients. This includes automation, robotics, and new designs that accelerate discovery of disease, allowing more time modelling individual patient therapies.

Value is more than material wealth

Dr. Sengupta is passionate about training new leaders in the field. He has mentored over 30 research fellows and trainees over the last 10 years, of whom seven have been ASE young investigator finalists.

Prof. Sengupta’s advice to younger cardiologists is to focus on research activities that look at value in terms of not just material prospects but their impact on lives and making a meaningful difference.

Although he never started with a million dollar grant, Prof. Sengupta’s work has had a huge impact. His humanitarian projects, which have affected thousands of people, were built on crowdsourced ideas and small donations. He says that a lot of people think research requires capital investment. However, researchers can be extremely creative with big ideas that have an impact on people’s lives.

For Prof. Sengupta, there is a difference between viewing research as a capital pursuit versus something that is more fulfilling and the pursuit for knowledge and creativity, by itself, will generate capital.

References

1. Singh S, Bansal M, Maheshwari P et al. American Society of Echocardiography: Remote Echocardiography with Web-Based Assessments for Referrals at a Distance (ASEREWARD) Study. J