LE&RN provided travel awards to eleven PhD and postdoc students to defray costs associated with attending the September NIH conference. Here we speak with award recipient Vincenza Cifarelli.
What did you get out of the Conference? Why did you feel it was important to attend?
The conference on lymphatics organized by the NIH provided an important platform for exchanging knowledge in the field between researchers and healthcare professionals. Attending this conference represented an important opportunity to meet the lymphatic scientific community and discuss their latest work and receive their feedback on my research.
What are your areas of interest in research? What are your hopes and plans for your career and your research?
I am studying a mouse that lacks CD36 receptor as a novel model of disrupted lymphatic function that is relevant to humans, who have a high frequency of polymorphisms in this gene. My ultimate research goal is to gain a better understanding of the metabolic importance of the lymphatic system. In a scenario of dysfunctional lymphatics, the transport of fat from the small intestine could result in increased absorbed lipid gaining direct access to the portal vein and the liver excruciating the food-generated inflammation and increasing the risk for metabolic diseases.
Why do you believe that, in general, lymphatic research is important?
There is suggestive evidence relating lymphatic dysfunction and metabolic syndrome but there is very little information regarding the mechanisms that might be involved. There is also a gap in our knowledge of the full implications of a malfunctioning lymphatic system in metabolism.
What might the field accomplish within the next few years?
I think it would be important to develop a framework for translational research programs to applying discoveries generated during research in the laboratory, and in preclinical studies, for the development of trials and studies in humans affected by lymphatic diseases.