It is often we hear about the research going on in the lab but rarely do we shine a spotlight on the researchers behind the work. Here in this series called ‘PRESTIGE-AF researchers in focus’ we will learn more about who is behind the groundbreaking research into ICH stroke survivors’ who have atrial fibrillation and their ongoing treatment.
In this iteration, we meet Elena Palà, PhD student and Olga Sánchez-Maroto Carrizo, project manager who are two researchers from PRESTIGE-AF partner institute, Vall d’Hebrón Institute of Research (VHIR) Neurovascular Research Laboratory.
Our research is focused on discovering biomarkers in the stroke field. Biomarkers are molecules that can be measured in the blood of patients and may help the physicians in the diagnostic and prognosis of a disease. For example, in the PRESTIGE-AF, we look for biomarkers that give us information about the risk of a patient to have a haemorrhage or an ischaemic stroke in the future.
I became a scientist as I like to think that what I am doing will help patients and I think that without science, medicine would not advance. I studied genetics and as I was more interested in translational research than basic research and I ended up doing my PhD on stroke biomarkers.
In the Neurovascular Research Laboratory, we are responsible for the central biobank of the study. At the moment, and before the clinical trial ends, a lot of work consists of preparing material to be sent to all the sites in Europe participating in the study. Also, we have been in charge of creating a harmonized protocol in order that all the sites process the blood in the same way, and we are in constant contact with the sites to solve doubts. Once the clinical trial ends we will receive the blood from all the included participants and we will perform several experiments analysing biomarkers in order to find the most interesting candidates.
I imagine that one important moment will be the day I present my PhD.
What I like most about working in science is learning new things every day. Also, I like being part of interesting projects like the PRESTIGE-AF, in which I found the opportunity to work with an international multidisciplinary team of experts.
In my free time I like travelling. Also, I like reading, watching series and doing some sport.
I would like to continue working in a position linked to research and science, learning every day and feeling useful in my job.
My role is to help investigators and Sponsors to conduct clinical investigations, helping them in the design, logistics and management of trials.
I have a degree in Biology, but I am not a scientist as people usually think. I am part of the administrative team that each scientist needs for conducting investigations. Investigators focus on their experiments which tend to have them forgetting all the paperwork and logistics that all investigations have.
What is your role in PRESTIGE-AF?
My role is to oversee the clinical trial in Spain, helping the Sponsor and Investigators in the management of the investigation.
To try to improve the health and quality of life of patients.
In my free time, you can find me cooking, reading or practising yoga.
I hope, let’s cross the fingers, to stay as today, helping investigators to achieve their objectives for improving the health and quality of life of people.