As we continue our ‘My First Paper’ Campaign, showcasing researchers and their research this week we talk to Martin Hossack from ISMIB, a trainee vascular surgeon undertaking a PhD investigating the biomechanics and biochemistry of abdominal aortic aneurysms. Martin is also a member of Liverpool Aortic Biomechanics and Biochemistry research group.
Your name and your area of research
Martin Hossack. I am a trainee vascular surgeon undertaking a PhD investigating the biomechanics and biochemistry of abdominal aortic aneurysms. I am a member of LABB, Liverpool Aortic Biomechanics and Biochemistry, an interdisciplinary research group focused on understanding, diagnosing and treating aortic diseases through novel approaches.
What was the title of your first paper and who was it submitted to?
My first paper from my PhD is a review article entitled “Micromechanical and Ultrastructural Properties of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms”, published in Artery Research.
How would you explain what this paper was about to your grandparents?
I would say that the important first step in any proposed research is a thorough and critical appraisal of the existing literature to make sure you are adding to and not repeating what has already been found. In my case, I found that abdominal aortic aneurysms are a critical condition of uncertain pathogenesis characterised by microscopic changes in the wall. It is important to characterise what affect these changes have on the strength of the wall, as this can affect how likely the aneurysm is to burst. If we can improve how we assess the risk of an aneurysm bursting, then maybe we can identify high risk patients for surgery, and reduce unnecessary operations on low risk patients.
What was the most significant thing for you about that paper?
I found that there is scope to improve and personalise the management of patients with abdominal aortic aneurysms, and that a thorough characterisation of the micromechanical properties of aneurysm tissue has not been undertaken previously.
What advice would you give to others about submitting their first paper?
As most research starts with a thorough review of the existing literature, it makes sense to formalise this process into a literature review paper. These are typically longer articles with a large number of references, making reference-manager software essential. By making your article open access, you can maximise its exposure. For those whose research is not externally funded, the library are able to cover the Article Processing Charge for various article types in fully open access journals on a first-come-first-serve basis.