The first of the four years of the project (1 February 2020 to 31 January 2024) came to an end on 1 February. Therefore, it was necessary to ctarry out an analysis of what has happened in this year full of experiences and research. Thus, on the 10th and 11th of March, the consortium of PersonalizeAF project held its 2nd meeting. As it happened last meeting, due to the current circumstances, the network met online, but this again resulted in a very fruitful and successful meeting.
This meeting consisted in two days: one day was dedicated to meetings and conversations in the scientific field, while the next one was to deal with administrative and management topic related to the project.
On the first day, 10th March, all the ESRs presented the work they have developed so far. Despite some delays due to the pandemic, we can confirm that the 15 ESRs have already been selected, so the research is moving forward. This presentations were divided by Work Packages, since our ESRs are working collaboratively, but they are focuse on 3 different Scientific “Work Packages”. Namely:
-WP1-Technologies for atrial state characterization. ESRS involved: Marilú Casini, Carmen Martínez, Eric Invers, Sachal Hussain, Ozan Özgul, Teresa Schiatti, Cristian Barrios
-WP2- Technologies for atrial fibrillation treatment. ESRs involved: Thomas Hutschalik, Albert Dasì, Narimane Gassa, Carlos Fambuena and Patricia Martínez.
-WP3- Decision support platform. ESRs involved: Sergio Gadur, Victor Gonçalves and Alexander Lacki.
In addition, there are several meetings between ESRs to promote networking and collaborative work, in order to make the most of their research in spite of the current situation and to reach their best results through different perspectives. If you want to know more about the ESRs involved in the project, don’t hesitate to visit the devoted section in our webpage: https://personalizeaf.net/early-stage-researchers/
In addition to the presentations of the ESRs, that afternoon we had the honour of hosting meetings with two experts in the fields of Atrial Fibrillation, Jose Jalife and Rob MacLeod. Both, experts in their attended to the presentations of of 5 selected ESRs. In addition, these ESRs had the opportunity to ask them for their opinions, while our guests offered their best ideas and experience for our consortium and their research. It was really a great experience that we will definitely repeat, thank you very much Rob and Jose for participating in these encounters!
On the second day of the meeting (11th March), various meetings took place, such as the Research Training Coordination Committee, the Communication and Dissemination Committee, and the SUpervisory Board. Here, for example, the Data management Stategy, the dissemination and exploitation plan and its future actions, etc. were discussed. In addition, we enjoyed an invited talk by our Advisory Board member, Gernot Plank, about: Automating workflows for creating high- fidelity digital twins of cardiac electro-mechanic function.
All in all, we experienced two intense days full of work and science, which we made the most of. We hope to be able to see each other in person soon, when the situation allows it. The next network meeting will be prepared for July, and the ESRs will certainly have a lot of progress to share with the rest of the consortium!
We would also like to inform that the second training course of the project, is currently running until the end of April. After the success of the first training course run by Universitat Politécnica de Valencia last November, Maastricht University has organized a high-quality training for our ESRs and those researchers outside the consortium who were interested in attending. This course, titled “Advanced signal and image processing” training course which consists of the following modules:
Scientific training modules that will enhance the approach to Atrial Fibrillation and personalized treatments: 1)Systems biology and atrial fibrillation with interesting topics as Systems Biology of AF Management + Assignment or Large Scale -Omics Datasets to Elucidate AF + Assignment;
2)Advanced biomedical signal processing addressing topics such as time-frequency analysis, blind source separation or complexity analysis: participants learn how to decompose signals into their individual components, how to interpret them, and how to reconstruct signals with only the relevant information being preserved. Furthermore, participants learn to analyze recurring patterns in signals.
3)Advanced image processing in which ESRs will learn about medical imaging, registration of medical images or segmentation. Participants learn how medical images can be automatically processed such that relevant information can be more easily identified and extracted. The course covers classical methods, as well as advanced ones such as deep learning.
Last but not least, the researchers have the opportunity to attend different transferable skills training modules. These trainings are intended to help the researchers acquire competences that will help them in their research and future career in soft skills such as 4)Best teaching practices, 5)Time management, and 6)Diversity in research,
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