Published: 31 October 2013

Surrey student awarded Young Investigator prize by the European Council for Cardiovascular Research (ECCR)

A presentation on research into aging as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease has won recognition for Surrey PhD student Sarah Cahill-Smith.

Sarah, who is studying for a PhD investigating Nox2-derived oxidative stress in ageing related cardiovascular diseases under the supervision of Professor Jian-Mei Li, scooped the prize at the annual meeting for the European Council for Cardiovascular Research.

Ageing has been recognised as a major risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease and growing evidence suggests that oxidative damage caused by free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulate in the body and lead to ageing. Nox2 is a major source of ROS in the cardiovascular system, and Sarah’s research is focused on investigating Endothelial dysfunction, hypertension, abnormal lipid levels and insulin resistance in Nox2 knock-out mice and wild-type controls at three age points. Her research group is also looking into the mechanisms behind these age-related problems.

Sarah, whose research was recently published in the journal Heart, was presented with the Young Investigator award following a ten minute presentation and a discussion about her research. As part of her prize, she has been invited to give a talk at the 4th International Society of Hypertension (ISH) New Investigator Symposium in Athens next year.

Sarah said: “Quality of life can be severely affected for people living with cardiovascular disease and research into the mechanisms involved can help improve our knowledge of these diseases, taking us a step closer to a therapeutic strategy to reduce the prevalence of these diseases. I find it very rewarding knowing that this research is contributing to something that can make a difference and hopefully help guide the way for future research to improve the quality of life for the elderly.

“I was surprised and excited to learn that I had won the prize. It was an achievement for me just to get shortlisted, but to win the prize was amazing. It feels really great that all my hard work has paid off and that my research is having an impact on the scientific community.”

Find out more about cardiovascular research and postgraduate research programmes.

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