The 6th annual ICAT Retreat took place in November 2022. We were absolutely delighted to be joined by colleagues from the 4Ward North Clinical PhD Programme for Health Professionals and the Edinburgh Clinical Academic Training (ECAT) Programme.
The event kicked off with presentations from our year 1 (pre-PhD) ICAT fellows, pictured in the collage below (photo top right). These fellows were appointed in July 2022 to the pre-PhD year of the programme, in which they are predominantly clinically-based but have protected time to identify a supervisory team, develop a PhD proposal and submit this for internal and external review. The ICAT Retreat is an important part of the internal review process, with a Q&A after each talk and plenty of opportunity during the breaks to discuss their project plans during the 2-day event.
The PhD ICAT and 4Ward North fellows participated in a Research Blitz, a fast-paced session where each speaker gives a snapshot of their research in 3 minutes.
Dr Annalisa Montesanti discussed the Health Research Board's (HRB) research careers portfolio, with a focus on their health research career paths which are designed for clinician scientists. The HRB are the prime funders of the ICAT-2 programme and also fund postdoctoral clinician scientists, early career investigators and research leaders. The career identity of clinician scientists was the topic of Dr Elaine Burke's presentation of her research. Elaine investigated the professional identity of established and trainee clinician scientists, working with ICAT fellows and more senior clinical academics. you can read her findings here.
Effects of Age on Human Alveolar Macrophage Responses to SARS-CoV-2 Antigens.
Enhanced von Willebrand Factor clearance in low VWF pathogenesis - limitations of VWF propeptide:antigen ratio and clinical significance.
An implantable, Closed-Loop Antihypertensive Drug-Delivery Algorithm in Hypertension (The CLADDAGH study).
Characterising patients with chronic spontaneous urticaria that do not respond to omalizumab.
Significant costs associated with investigation and treatment of apparent treatment-resistant hypertension in a specialist multidisciplinary clinic.
We welcomed back Professor Caroline Sabin, a Professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology at the UCL Institute of Global Health and a member of the ICAT Independent Advisory Board. Prof. Sabin has been involved in the annual ICAT fellowship appointment process since the programme started, and has provided significant support to the ICAT executive team. Prof. Sabin delivered a session discussing how to use real-world evidence, the advantages and potential pitfalls and the need for consideration & scientific rigour when using the data.
We were privileged to host Professor Neil Henderson and Professor Neil Hanley who each spoke about their career highs and lows in clinical academia. The career talks are always a highlight of the Retreat and a fantastic way to hear about the infinite possibilities that a career in research offers.
In a session that has become an integral part of the Retreat, we held a fireside chat titled How do we successfully train our clinician scientists . Our panel members were Professor Neil Hanley (University of Manchester and 4Ward North Programme Director), Professor Deirdre Murray (University College Cork and ICAT Programme Director), Professor Neil Henderson (University of Edinburgh and ECAT Programme Director), and Professor Conall Dennedy (University of Galway and ICAT-2 Principal Investigator). The panel discussed the current strategies for training clinical academics in Ireland and the UK, with examples from the ICAT, ECAT and 4Ward North programmes.