Giacomo Rossitto, currently a Ph.D. student at the British-Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence, University of Glasgow, UK, under the supervision of Prof. Christian Delles. Giacomo received a Travel Award from LE&RN to attend the Lymphatic Forum in Austin, TX. We asked him to share his thoughts on that experience with us and to tell us a bit about his research and future plans.
1. What did you get out of the Lymphatic Forum? Why did you feel it was important to attend?
The 2019 Forum was the second time I attended this fantastic meeting. In comparison to other cardiovascular meetings, it offers a much more intimate, friendly but also extremely high-level interaction with the greatest experts in the field. Networking is made simple and one has a genuine feeling of support from the whole community. As a non-lymphologist, I highly valued this support and the multifaceted science presented at the Forum.
2. What are your areas of interest in research?
My background is in more “traditional” cardiovascular disease. As a clinician, I’ve always been particularly interested in the clinical aspects of this large basket, particularly hypertension and heart failure, and during my Ph.D. I could further develop also an inquisitive approach to the biological mechanisms behind. Despite their obvious relevance in the physiology of fluid balance, lymphatics are traditionally neglected as far as these diseases and their management are concerned.
3. What are your hopes and plans for your career and your research?
I’d like to share my enthusiasm toward these hard-to-investigate, but extremely sophisticated and fascinating vessels with the world of cardiology. My goal, in a sense, is to bring cardiologists and their clinical needs closer to the lymphatic world, and lymphologists and their highly mechanistic knowledge closer to high-impact diseases like hypertension, diabetes, CKD, or heart failure beyond the “sole” lymphedema. I hope I’ll be able to provide, through my own basic and clinical research, solid ground for such a fruitful gathering of different expertise.
4. Why do you believe that, in general, lymphatic research is important? What might the field accomplish within the next few years?
Despite their key role in physiology, lymphatics are still considered a trivial medical niche, relevant to just a tiny minority of patients, by the vast majority of trained physicians. Most of this misconception depends on ignorance, and the latter on the many challenges that lymphatic research poses. The only way to make a change in science is to provide evidence and, no matter how hard, this is up to researchers. My short-term hope is for technical advancements to shed more light on the biology of lymphatic contractile activity and its potential modulation, with a long term-goal of a real benefit to patients.