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My research experience

Noemi Cinti's research experience

Year 4 medicine student Noemi Cintio's pursuit of research began with the INSPIRE programme during their second year of study.

Noemi discovered a profound interest in research, leading to a pursuit of an intercalated MSc in Clinical Anatomy degree at Hull York Medical School and then further research in the Scholarship and Special Interest Programme (SSIP).

Their journey includes diverse experiences and impactful contributions, as well as publishing work and presentations at esteemed conferences.

Read on for Noemi's insight into how these invaluable experiences have fueled their future research career ambitions.

Noemi Cinti

How did you become interested in research?

My first experience in research was through INSPIRE, in year 2. After this I became more confident in my research skills and found a keen interest in it.

I later pursued an intercalated MSc in Clinical Anatomy at Hull York Medical School, which included an independent research project. For this I was supervised by a hospital clinician, who later became my mentor and with whom I still regularly conduct research outside academic hours.

One of our projects is being developed as part of my year 4 SSIP. I have also conducted educational research in collaboration with the local radiology department at Hull Royal Infirmary.

I believe that research, whether conducted by students or at any other stage in our careers, holds significant potential. While it may not always be revolutionary on its own, each study contributes to a larger body of knowledge and/or influences future research. This perspective makes research exceptionally motivating for me. I recognise that even a modest contribution can have a substantial impact when viewed in a broader context.

Can you tell us more about your research journey?

My first project, done through the INSPIRE programme, was a systematic review that investigated tumour-associated antigens for immunotherapeutic and diagnostic capacity in epithelial ovarian cancer. This project was conducted with Hull York Medical School’s Centre of Biomedicine under the supervision of Dr Barbara Guinn.

I was the second reviewer in this research project. This meant that I screened the relevant literature and included or rejected papers using the same protocol as the first reviewer, who was a much more experienced MSc student. I also was involved in writing of the abstract and some sections of the manuscript itself. Overall this was a very achievable and motivating first project and it really helped me develop my skills.

Since then, I have progress to do research first author, meaning that I was the main person involved in study design, data collection, analysis and writing of the manuscripts.

I mostly focused on radiology (mainly neurointerventional), which is a field I am passionate about. My MSc research project was a retrospective case control study that explored how tortuosity of the internal carotid artery influences rupture of aneurysms of the anterior cerebral circulation. We used radiological data from patients treated in the hospital to analyse this association. In particular we wanted to determine whether this type of tortuosity could be used in risk assessment scores to prompt elective treatment of aneurysms.

My MSc research project was conducted with the Hull York Medical School’s Centre of Anatomical and Human Sciences under the supervision of Professor Peter Bazira and Dr Paul McKeegan, and the Interventional Neuroradiology department at Hull Royal Infirmary under the supervision of Dr Hamed Nejadhamzeeigilani.

My SSIP project currently focuses on the impact of aortic arch anatomy on the success rates of mechanical thrombectomy for acute ischaemic stroke. My SSIP project is being supervised by Dr Nejadhamzeeigilani from the Interventional Neuroradiology department at Hull Royal Infirmary.

An additional project I worked on looked at the perception of interventional radiology within medical students attending a workshop at a national surgical conference. We wanted to highlight that students are likely not adequately exposed to interventional radiology during medical school and that focused teaching events could encourage more people to consider a career in it (particularly given the national shortage of consultants).

I have run a survey on the perception of interventional radiology within students, which I conducted in collaboration with the Vascular Interventional Radiology department at Hull Royal Infirmary under the supervision of Dr Raghuram Lakshminarayan.

Have you had opportunities to publish or present your work?

My project on epithelial ovarian cancer antigens was published in the journal Carcinogenesis. I also orally presented it at the Hull York Medical School Research Conference.

I presented my research on internal carotid artery tortuosity as a poster at the 2023 European Society of Neuroradiology (ESNR) meeting in Vienna. This research is also currently in the process of publication.

I presented a poster on the survey on interventional radiology perception within students at the 2023 Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society of Europe (CIRSE) congress in Copenhagen.

Have your experiences helped to shape your career aspirations or have an impact on your academic journey?

The INSPIRE programme, where I carried out my first project, definitely introduced me to the world of research. It taught me fundamental skills and significantly boosted my confidence. I believe I probably would have never explored research as a possible future career had it not been for this opportunity.

Through my intercalated degree in MSc in Clinical Anatomy, I developed fundamental academic skills, becoming proficient in academic and critical writing, as well as statistics. I believe the research project as part of this MSc was my launch platform; after this I decided I would like to pursue an academic career.

In the future, I aspire to undertake an Academic Clinical Fellowship (ACF), which would enable me to work as a clinician while having protected time for my own research. I think there is so much room for innovation in medicine and being able to be an infinitesimal part of it is what motivates me in this career.

Any publications, as well as oral or poster presentations and an MSc degree, will help me in my possible future application for the Specialised Foundation Programme and an Academic Clinical Fellowship. The MSc in particular is what allowed me to network with clinicians in the interventional radiology department and find ongoing opportunities for research.