Dong Li, currently a Research Scientist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, under the supervision of Dr. Hakon Hakonarson, received a Travel Award from LE&RN to attend the 2017 Lymphatics Forum in Chicago. We asked Dong Li to share his thoughts on that experience with us and to tell us a bit about his research and future plans.
What did you get out of the Forum? Why did you feel it was important to attend?
First of all, I would like to thank LE&RN for granting me the Travel Award to help defray travel and lodging expenses associated with the Lymphatic Forum. The 2017 Lymphatic Forum was the first lymphatic meeting that I attended. It provided me a great opportunity to connect with other leading scientists in the lymphatic field and discuss my findings with them. The forum also gave me a big picture of the lymphatic field, which reinforces my knowledge in lymphatics and points me the direction that I should go.
What are your areas of interest in research?
I focus on resolving the genetic causes of lymphatic diseases and I’m interested in translational medicine as well.
What are your hopes and plans for your career and your research?
By improving understanding of the genetic architecture of lymphatic diseases and the biological processes underpinning their pathogenesis, ultimately I hope such knowledge can lead to improving prognosis, developing efficacious treatment and tailoring intervention to the individual.
Why do you believe that, in general, lymphatic research is important? What might the field accomplish within the next few years?
As the classification of current primary lymphatic anomalies is quite confusing and criteria for different entities remain poorly defined, progress in the field has been hampered as the clinical findings overlap between lymphatic disorders that are differently classified. I think an attempt to begin understanding the disease spectrum through the underlying genetic causes ultimately would result in a genetic classification as a way to evaluate these disorders and eventually guide treatment.
Programs such as LE&RN's Travel Awards program advance the scientific community's understanding of lymphedema and lymphatic diseases, allows for increased communication between researchers, and raises the profile of lymphatic research. These programs are only possible as a result of the generosity and dedication of LE&RN's corporate sponsors and Supporting Members. If you are committed to LE&RN's mission of fighting lymphedema and lymphatic disease through education, research, and advocacy, become a LE&RN Supporting Member today.