Dr Vasi Manou

Academic Clinical Fellow
Queen Mary University of London

Vasi Manou

I am an Academic Clinical Fellow (ACF) in Anaesthesia in North Central and North East London Deanery, attached to Queen Mary University of London. Academic Clinical Fellowships are NIHR-funded specialty training posts that incorporate dedicated time to pursue an academic focus alongside clinical training. I applied and interviewed for an ACF during my CT2 year and commenced my ACF the following year as an ST3. I am doing my clinical rotations in the North Central and North East London Deanery and my dedicated research time (9 months) is being spent at Queen Mary University Hospital with Professor Pearse and in Dr Ackland's team, primarily at the William Harvey Research Institute.

What motivated me to apply for an ACF?

I wanted to be an anaesthetist because of the intellectual challenge, analytical thinking and practical aspects that a career in anaesthetics offered, and it was these same attributes that attracted me to an academic career. Doing a BA in Physiology and Pharmacology during my third year at medical school provided me with an enjoyable and rewarding experience of laboratory-based research, driving me to apply for an Academic Foundation Programme in cardiac physiology. This gave me my first taste of working as a clinician with dedicated research time and I gained an appreciation of the need for a supportive framework to allow clinicians to integrate training and research. There are many different pathways for clinicians to be involved with research and what attracted me to an ACF in particular was that it allowed me to continue my clinical progression, while exploring my research interests and preparing preliminary evidence for further funding to pursue these interests.

What am I currently doing?

I started my 9 months of dedicated research time in ST4, after completing the Final FRCA. I chose to take my research time in a translational laboratory-based research project. I am currently working in Dr Ackland's laboratory and the focus of the research is on improving outcomes of patients following major surgery. With guidance from Dr Ackland and collaboration with other research fellows in the lab, I am planning and carrying out experiments to investigate the mechanisms contributing to perioperative myocardial injury and the role of the stress response. My time in the lab has led to me revisiting techniques I learnt almost a decade ago and learning new ones, which has given me unique problem-solving opportunities and a great sense of achievement when an idea materialises into compelling evidence.

What I plan to do in the future

The ACF has also given me the opportunity to enrol into a PGCert in Clinical Research in QMUL and has provided me with considerable funding to attend academic conferences abroad. After the ACF (which typically lasts 3 years) I have the choice of returning to purely clinical training or using the work I have done into supporting an application for a PhD. Whilst I love working in a clinical environment and looking after patients, I also love the challenges and analytical thinking of research, and the great thing is that academic anaesthesia does not make me choose between the two.