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2013 Working Group Young Investigator Award price winner: Interview with Iwai Ryosuke

Basic Sciences, Pharmacology, Genomics and Cardiovascular Pathology

Q1 Ryosuke, it was a pleasure to have you as a winner of the Second Edition of the ESC YIA in Atherosclerosis. I hope you enjoyed the experience. Why did you decide to get into cardiovascular research?

I was very honored to be selected for the YIA 2013. It was not only a great experience for me, but also a good opportunity to introduce this working group activity to Japanese young researchers! It’s one of the ultimate dreams for human beings to regenerate missing or diseased tissues like lizard tail regeneration. I also dreamed its realization and started tissue regeneration research when I was grad student. It goes without saying that cardiovascular disease leads us directly to death and therefore, the regeneration of cardiovascular tissue is highly desired. With the recent rapid development of stem cell biology, regenerative therapy becomes more and more real possibility (it’s called flowering stage). Thus, regeneration of cardiovascular tissues as tissue engineering researcher in Japanese national cerebral and cardiovascular center research institute is my focus of interest.

Q2: What led you to start this specific research project and/or lab?

Artificial vascular grafts especially in small caliber as possibly used for coronary artery bypass grafting have never been developed because they have a risk of occlusion by thrombosis formation. The key factor for the development of small vascular grafts is how we prepare grafts that can be promptly endothelialized (that is to say biocompatibility). Our group has been developing tissue-engineered vascular grafts called BIOTUBE grafts that are prepared in the subcutaneous layer of patients. Because the BIOTUBEs are completely autologous, they showed excellent biocompatibility. So, I started to investigate vascular regeneration using these BIOTUBE grafts, and now I am aiming to enhance their endothelialization by incorporating stem cells into them.

Q3: What do you think it was the secret of your success as Young Investigator?

I am fortunate to have precious colleagues with different specialized fields such as surgeon, physician, veterinarian, biologist, chemist and mechanical engineer. Therefore, I could hear various opinions from a different perspective at any time, which sometimes provided us with innovative inspiration. In addition, “not miss a thing that occurs in the corner of dishes” -the wisdom that my professor always said to me-

Q4: What did you most enjoy of your time in cardiovascular research?

I have enjoyed discussing with my colleagues about newly observed findings in experiments (sometimes talking over a glass of SAKE).

Q5: Will you stay in research or plan to go back to clinical activities?

I will continue to enjoy research activities.

Again congratulations for your achievement! Thanks for the interview!

The content of this article reflects the personal opinion of the author/s and is not necessarily the official position of the European Society of Cardiology.