Seven minutes in stroke - Luis M. T. Jesus

1. What inspired you towards neuroscience?
It all started in a summer school I attended during my Ph.D. back in 1998, where one of the keynote speakers was the phonologist Professor Andrea Calabrese, who presented results from discourse analysis of a Person with Aphasia that could inform health professional in their daily practice, and I was able to attend various other presentations related to neuroscience. Then, after completing my Ph.D. in 2001, during my first years as a lecturer at the School of Health Sciences (ESSUA), University of Aveiro, Portugal, I contacted Professor Alexandre Castro Caldas who generously sent me copies of all his work related to Aphasia. I then familiarised myself with this and other literature that lead to the first draft of a research project in Aphasia.

2. Why stroke?
Cardiovascular diseases, including stroke, are the first cause of death and disability in Portugal and, consequently, one of the most frequent cause of hospitalisation. A significant part of stroke related costs are related to rehabilitation (physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy). Given the current situation in our country and the fact that I have been since 2001 an academic based at a School of Health Sciences, where these disciplines are taught and researched, the promotion of successful community reintegration of stroke survivors and the integrated care where several areas of rehabilitation are considered, has been one of the aims of our research.

3. What have been the highs so far?
The highs of my academic life have very much been related to the successful completion of my postgraduate students research projects and their ultimate success as academics, scientists and clinicians. Facilitating and fostering the research of young clinicians and seeing them succeed afterwards has given me the greatest sense of self-completion over the last fifteen years.

4. What have been the lows?
I’m not sure I could really call some of the usual challenges every academic has to face, a true low. I look at this as a necessary step toward our greatest achievements. The constant challenge limited funding imposed on you, and the short-sighted vision of some strategic decisions constrain the impact of some work you develop. However, it has also encouraged me to take risks and tackle scientific problems that keep challenging me to learn new things.

5. How do you balance work life with the needs of home life?
My love for life and those that are closest to me have always been my greatest source of inspiration. I was blessed with great grandparents, parents, brother and friends that always supported me along my whole life, and I was also fortunate to have crossed paths with the love of my life whom I have been married to over the past twelve years. We have two beautiful children I cherish deep in my heart. So I could say I struggle, like any other academic, trying to juggle my daily work with a full personal life. The right balance between work, people, sports, visual arts, music and literature, has always brightened my days.

6. Who are your most important mentors and how did you find them?
My greatest mentors have been my undergraduate project supervisors (Professor Francisco Vaz, University of Aveiro, Portugal; José Carlos Principe, University of Florida, USA), my M.Sc. (Dr. Gavin Cawley, University of East Anglia, UK) and Ph.D. (Dr. Christine Shadle, Haskins Laboratories, USA) supervisors. Also the lab directors at the universities where I worked as a researcher have been a great inspiration: Professor Steven Cox, University of East Anglia, UK; Professor Robert Damper, University of Southampton, UK; Professor Paulo Ferreira and Dr. Armando Pinho, University of Aveiro, Portugal.

7. What are your most important collaborations and how have you built them?
Establishing interdisciplinary and international research collaborations in life sciences has long been the top priority in my agenda. Our longest collaboration in Aphasia/ Stroke has been with City, University of London, UK. I was just about to start the supervision of a new Ph.D. student, so in August 2006 I sent an e-mail to Professor Jane Marshall to arrange a visit to London. Given the nature of the project we wanted to develop, Jane introduced me to Dr. Madeline Cruice, whom I have worked with ever since. We have both been members of the Collaboration of Aphasia Trialists (CATs) network over the last three years.

Luis M. T. Jesus is a Professor Coordenador (Associate Professor / Reader) at the University of Aveiro, Portugal lmtj@ua.pt


Seven minutes in stroke - Luis M. T. Jesus Reviewed by Carmen Lahiff-Jenkins on Monday, March 06, 2017 Rating: 5

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