Miriam Sjåstad Langseth, MD, is a PhD candidate under the supervision of Prof. Ingebjørg Seljeflot, currently working at the Centre for Clinical Heart Research, Ullevål University Hospital, Oslo, Norway, since January 2017. Miriam does translational research in Cardiology, and her PhD project is related to neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) in coronary artery disease (CAD). In this framework, Miriam investigated whether circulating markers of NETs were associated with clinical outcomes and coagulability in 956 STEMI patients. She observed that patients with above-median dsDNA levels had elevated concentrations of D-dimer and prothrombin fragment 1+2, and they were also at increased risk of death in the long term. Her results suggest an involvement of NETs in CAD progression, although she concludes that the prognostic relevance of NETs markers deserves further exploration.
Temo Barwari, MD, PhD, recently completed a PhD under the supervision of Professor Manuel Mayr at King’s College, London, UK, and is currently an Internal Medicine Resident at the Flevoziekenhuis, Almere, the Netherlands. He presented his work on the role of microRNA-21 (miR-21), which has known profibrotic properties, in regulating platelet function. Temo showed that whilst altering levels of miR-21 had only limited effects on extracellular matrix protein secretion from cardiac fibroblasts, miR-21 levels correlated with platelet-derived profibrotic factors, including tumour growth factor β1 (TGF-β1), in a human cohort. He identified Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein as the direct target of miR-21 and showed that platelet release of TGF-β1 was reduced, in mice, by antagomiR-21. Temo concluded that these effects may contribute to the antifibrotic effects of miR-21 inhibitors.
Wael Sumaya, MD, PhD, is Clinical Lecturer in Cardiology at the University of Sheffield, UK. He works under the supervision of Professor Rob Storey (Sheffield) and Dr Ramzi Ajjan (Leeds, UK). His research focuses on the relationship between parameters of acellular coagulation and outcomes after acute coronary syndrome (ACS). Wael presented his research on fibrin clot dynamics, measured in samples taken from 4354 patients participating in the PLATelet inhibition and patient Outcomes (PLATO) study. He found that higher fibrin clot lysis time was significantly associated with poorer clinical outcomes after ACS, a relationship that persisted after adjustment for other risk factors, and regardless of the assigned P2Y12 inhibitor. In the next phase of his research, Wael hopes to explore new targeted strategies for correcting hypofibrinolysis.