Christopher Morris, currently a Ph.D. student at Imperial College London, under the supervision of Professor Moore Jr., received a Travel Award from LE&RN to attend the Lymphatic Forum in Austin, TX. We asked Christopher 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 Lymphatic Forum? Why did you feel it was important to attend?
With lymphatics research being performed by such a small network of researchers compared to most other areas, I felt it was important to attend a global conference with lymphatic researchers. The patient interviews really put into perspective the importance of research into lymphatic diseases. I also received some very useful feedback on my results.
What are your areas of interest in research?
In my Ph.D. research, I am interested in the fluid transport by collecting lymphatics. My primary focus is the subcellular mechanisms leading to the two types of contractions (phasic and tonic) exhibited by lymphatic muscle, investigated through a computer model. I am also involved in the development of a computer model to understand the interaction of lymphangions in networks.
What are your hopes and plans for your career and your research?
I am approaching the end of my Ph.D. in the research group of Professor Moore Jr at Imperial College London. After completing my Ph.D., I hope to continue to develop computer models of biomechanics, particularly related to fluid flows.
Why do you believe that, in general, lymphatic research is important? What might the field accomplish within the next few years?
I believe that lymphatic research is important for many reasons, particularly as it has been understudied for so long. The lymphatics are essential for several aspects of physiologic function and have been implicated in a lot of disease states (e.g. obesity, heart failure, hypertension, etc.). I think that the desperation for progress in lymphedema treatment is a major driving force and that there will be significant advances over the next few years as a result.