LE&RN thanks Marco Borri for sharing his thoughts with us in this guest blog post. We look forward to getting regular updates on his promising research.
I would like to thank LE&RN once more for this award, which made it possible for me to attend the Molecular Mechanisms in Lymphatic Function & Disease Conference. This was my first Gordon Research Conference and it was a very inspiring and extremely useful experience. I particularly enjoyed the focus on networking, which is what makes this conference unique. I returned with many new ideas, arising from my interaction with experts in a number of different fields, and I am now hoping to set up some interesting scientific collaborations.
I am a Medical Imaging Physicist and I have worked for a number of years as a Clinical Scientist, supervised by Dr Maria Schmidt, at the CRUK Cancer Imaging Centre (Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and Institute of Cancer Research, Sutton, UK), in the Clinical Magnetic Resonance group led by Prof. Martin Leach. I have recently been awarded a Doctoral Fellowship through the NIHR/HEE Healthcare Science Doctoral Scheme, following the submission of a research proposal entitled: “Magnetic Resonance Lymphangiography of Breast Cancer Related Lymphoedema.” For the next three years, I intend to create a Magnetic Resonance examination which can produce informative clinical images of lymphatic vessels and characterize lymph drainage, without using radiation. This method will allow a better description of the anatomical and functional aspects of lymphoedema, and will be used to assess response to reconstructive microsurgery in a group of patients treated at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.
Prof. Peter Mortimer, principal investigator of this study, strongly encouraged me to attend the Gordon Research Conference, emphasizing that it would be an excellent way to start my Doctoral Fellowship studies. As well as having a poster at the conference, I was selected to present my initial development work on a pilot cohort of patients. The Magnetic Resonance Imaging protocol proposed in this work produced detailed images of superficial and deep lymphatic vessels of the arm for the first time, together with a measurement of lymphatic fluid velocity. I was very pleased to see my work received and discussed with enthusiasm and all the positive feedback reinforced my strong motivation to further develop this research.
I came back from the Gordon Research Conference with the very encouraging feeling that I am part of a highly active scientific community, devoted to the study of the lymphatic system, and I am excited to work towards further contributions to this field.