Young LUMC talent receives NWO Rubicon grant to conduct research abroad

4 October 2021• NEWSITEM

Edouard Fu, PhD student at the Department of Clinical Epidemiology at the LUMC, uses big data to study the effectiveness and safety of kidney, diabetes and heart failure treatments. With a Rubicon grant from NWO, Edouard will conduct further research at Harvard Medical School over the next two years.

In the first round of Rubicon 2021, a total of 24 newly graduated scientists were selected to conduct research abroad at prestigious institutions such as Oxford and Harvard. 

Wonder drugs for diabetics?

Sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors are a new group of medications used for treating patients with type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, or heart failure. The potential impact of this novel medication class is enormous: type 2 diabetes currently affects more than 400 million people worldwide, whereas heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalizations in the Western world. 

Considered a breakthrough in the treatment of diabetes and heart failure, Edouard Fu – however – highlights that initial clinical trials on the effectiveness and safety of SGLT2 inhibitors do not portray the whole picture quite yet. “These trials included very selective patient populations and their study size and duration is often not sufficient to investigate rare – but potentially serious safety outcomes. By applying cutting-edge statistical methods to big data of more than 200 million patients, we will be able to investigate the effectiveness and safety of these drugs in patients with diabetes and heart failure in a real-life setting.” 

The right tools at the right place

The young LUMC talent is going to Harvard Medical School in the United States for a two-year period. “Spending part of my early research career abroad in a research group that is at the forefront of this field will be an incredibly valuable experience. This group is unique, as they use the newest and largest data, the best methods and have the expertise to answer highly impactful clinical questions. I am incredibly grateful to NWO/ZonMw for this opportunity and look forward to working with my mentors Dr. Rishi Desai and Dr. Elisabetta Patorno at Harvard.”

Before leaving to Harvard, Edouard will defend his PhD thesis titled “Optimal cardiovascular treatment strategies in kidney disease – causal inference from observational data” on the 28th of October.

Rubicon 2021

As part of the NWO Talent Programme, Rubicon intends to give young, promising scientists the opportunity to gain international research experience for up to 24 months. This represents an important step in many of the laureates’ careers. Those selected in the first round of Rubicon 2021 will investigate a variety of topics, including the safety of diabetes and heart failure treatments, present wage gap between men and women, and effects of specific chemicals on biodiversity.

Read more about the NWO Rubicon programme and the Rubicon 2021 research projects. 

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