It’s a great feeling to have published a review article within the first six months of starting ones PhD. The feeling is still really fresh of having walked into the Biochemistry department of CARIM to start this appointment, with all the excitement, angst, and unknown, of what the next four years will bring. I feel really fortunate and privileged to be able to be part of a publication before even 6 months of my doctorate has begun. The idea behind the review article was suggested and spearheaded by my supervisor Professor Leon Schurgers.
On the surface the idea presented was relatively straight forward, we summarise the current literature on vascular calcification within three categories of the vasculature; Dawid Kaczor to discuss platelets, myself for smooth muscle cells and Maurice Halder for the pericytes. We each set these individual tasks, and at a later date return with our pieces of the puzzle. After a month or so we had submitted our pieces to Professor Schurgers who collated everything together and emailed back the whole first draft of the review for us to take a look at. To my satisfaction and delight we had all produced a similar quantity and quality of information to the article. Then came the task of piecing it all together.
It was a cold yet sunny Saturday morning in December, and I sat down with a coffee overlooking the suburbs of Amsterdam. I can remember it like it was yesterday. The feeling that I had arrived at a destination I had been working towards for many years. This was going to be my first mark as a published author on the scientific scene. But first, review the review. This was a moment where being a native English speaker gave me the perspective to help turn pieces into one voice telling a story. In doing so I rewrote complete sections of my colleagues and my own segments to make it flow as one voice. I was happy with the outcome as well as the new insight I had gained into inflammatory functions of platelet derived EVs and pericyte MSC-like cells in vascular calcification.
It’s still quite surreal that I have arrived at a place in my life where I get paid to learn and play science. Not only that but I was able to expand my knowledge into appreciating the potential mechanisms of vascular calcification from outside of my research interests. Also, designing figures with the help of NattoPharma ASA (Hovik, Norway), I was able to turn my scribbles into high-quality images for publication. This was a fun process, relaying back and forth with a graphic designer our requirements. Today the manuscript is freely available to read, and if I was to summarise the manuscript in a few sentences it would be; processes from the inside to the outside of the vasculature appear to regulate the development of vascular calcification. Extracellular vesicles have a role in communicating ordinary function and development of calcification. Cross talk between these layers is a likely scenario in pathological development, which is where this review comes in as a necessary summary for the field today.
Click here for the publication