Dr. Vincenza Cifarelli, currently an Instructor in Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis under the supervision of Dr. Nada Abumrad, received a Travel Award from LE&RN to attend the 2017 Lymphatics Forum in Chicago. We asked Vincenza to share her thoughts on that experience with us and to tell us a bit about her research and future plans.
What did you get out of the Forum? Why did you feel it was important to attend?
I am very grateful to LE&RN and its Spporting Members for giving me this terrific opportunity to attend the Lymphatics Forum in Chicago. This was such an important platform for exchanging knowledge in the field within the lymphatic scientific community and receive feedback on my current research.
What are your areas of interest in research?
I am studying a mouse that lacks a receptor for fatty acid, as a novel model of disrupted lymphatic function that is relevant to humans, who have a high frequency of polymorphisms in the 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.
What are your hopes and plans for your career and your research?
There is suggestive evidence relating lymphatic dysfunction and metabolic syndrome but there is very little information regarding the mechanisms that might be involved. My plan is to develop a niche in the lymphatics research that explores the full implications of a malfunctioning lymphatic system in metabolism and vice versa.
Why do you believe that, in general, lymphatic research is important? What might the field accomplish within the next few years?
Understanding the mechanisms that regulate the lymphatic system is crucial to define the strategy for finding a cure and/or improve quality of life in people affected by lymphatic diseases.
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.