Each year the British Heart Foundation declares February as National Heart Month in the UK. We were delighted to chat to Professor Marc Dweck, Professor of Clinical Cardiology and consultant cardiologist about his research in common cardiovascular diseases and his love of imaging.
What have you been up to since graduation?
I trained as an academic cardiologist in Edinburgh, London, New York and Los Angeles. I now live in Edinburgh with my amazing wife (Carrie) and three awesome children (Tom, Eva and Louis). My training was great fun, I really enjoyed pretty much all of it. Mainly that was because of all the fantastic people I got to meet – the patients, nurses, doctors, radiographers, technologists, students and scientists. A great part of being a doctor is that you get to hang out with lots of caring and smart people.
Why did you choose this career path?
I have always wanted to be a cardiologist. However, the thing that really got me excited were all the new ways of taking pictures of the heart that were emerging just as I started training. I was struck by the beauty of those images and how clearly you could see the heart. Suddenly I felt like I really understood the conditions that I was trying to treat in my patients.
What is your current research focus?
My research focuses on translating the powerful information that modern imaging provides into concrete improvements in how we care for patients with heart disease. I’m particularly interested in developing new ways of diagnosing and managing common cardiovascular diseases and in trying to improve patient outcomes.
What are your hopes for the future?
In the not-too-distant future, I think we will have the tools to precisely define what kind of heart disease a patient is affected by, so that we can make sure they then get exactly the right treatment. I believe modern imaging will allow us to routinely practice precision medicine for our patients with heart disease.
What do you enjoy in your free time?
My two great passions outside of work are reading and sport. I spend a lot of time running and cycling in the Pentland Hills around my house and when I go on trips overseas, running is a great way to get to know a new city. With the advent of audiobooks, I can often listen to a great book at the same time, so that is pretty much my idea of perfection!
I also love watching my kids play sport and do some rugby and football coaching with them, amazing fun. Finally, whenever my wife, Carrie, and I get a chance we’ll sneak in a game of tennis, she’s pretty good and I think enjoys making me chase around the court.
Any advice for students looking to get into a career in medical research?
If you are interested in research then go for it! It is such a rewarding and interesting career that opens up incredible opportunities to develop friends around the world with whom you can help shape the future of medicine. It’s hard work and there will be plenty of rejection along the way, but that’s what helps you develop and improve as a scientist. I would thoroughly recommend it.