Dr. Riaz Akhtar, Reader in Biomedical Engineering, reflects on positive impact of Wellcome ISSF Research Support Fund grant in recognition of challenges presented by the pandemic.
I am a Reader in Biomedical Engineering. My research focusses on cardiovascular biomechanics. I am fortunate to be able to work with leading experts through the Liverpool Centre of Cardiovascular Science where we have a strong, collaborative relationship with the clinicians and surgeons working at the hospitals in the Liverpool City Region.
During the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a huge change in my personal circumstances which impacted on my ability to do the creative aspects of my job which require prolonged periods of deep work such as paper and grant writing. I was, however, successful in being awarded pilot funding for a project exploring the relationship between Covid-19 infection and vascular ageing. This is an important project for understanding the long-term consequences of Covid-19 and to determine why some individuals are more adversely affected following infection. What is particularly exciting for me is that the project feeds into a global study, CARTESIAN (Covid-19 Effects on ARTErial StIffness and Vascular AgeiNg) which is exploring this relationship across multiple countries and research centres across the world (52 centres in 25 Countries). I had been successful in obtaining ethical approval for this study but lacked the capacity to progress the research until receiving the Wellcome Trust ISSF award.