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Heartlands doctor wins prestigious national award

Published on 11/06/2021

Prize winning trainee doctor Nicole Cianci

A trainee doctor at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital has gained a top prize in the prestigious Dr Falk-Pharma/Guts UK Charity national awards.

Dr Nicole Cianci won the prize for her research project into an increasingly common form of liver disease. The project, entitled ‘Biomarkers for all-cause mortality in Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD): A systematic review and meta analysis’, was carried out at Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre Medical Research Centre.

Dr Cianci was presented with her award by Dr Alastair McKinley, the President of the British Gastroenterology Society at a virtual ceremony on Thursday 3rd June.

The Dr Falk Pharma/Guts UK Charity Awards are dedicated to encouraging research and promoting patient care in the field of gastroenterology and hepatology. Since 2007 they have rewarded over 100 dedicated young health care professionals, including medical students, junior doctors, nurses and dietitians.

Dr Cianci said: “NAFLD is an increasingly common disease, affecting up to 1 in 3 adults in the UK.

“The traditional way of diagnosing and monitoring this disease is by taking a sample from the liver, which is invasive, can be dangerous to the patient, is costly, and is not always available.

“In this study, we aim to pull together the available research on non-invasive tests, to determine their success at predicting death rates.

“I hope that we will be able to demonstrate that certain tests can be used in clinical practice, in particular to predict those at high risk of mortality so that they can receive more focused and aggressive medical care, to ultimately help people with NALD to lead longer and happier lives.

"I am extremely grateful to Guts UK and Dr Falk for investing in us young doctors and I hope that I can make the most of this award and indeed produce research that will be of benefit to patients."

Dr Cianci’s Project Supervisor, Consultant Gastroenterologist Professor Guruprasad P. Aithal added: "Dr Cianci is the most accomplished upcoming clinician scientist I have met in the past ten years.

“She already has a rich career portfolio and has been a co-author of three publications including one in ‘Scientific Reports’”.

“A number of biomarkers are being investigated for monitoring liver disease and a systematic review of this NAFLD area is crucial.”