During the Young Stroke Physicians and Researchers (YSPR) session at ESOC 2022 in Lyon, four early career stroke physicians and researchers will present their planned or ongoing projects and receive feedback from two renowned stroke experts, Prof. Kennedy Lees and Prof. Martin Dichgans.

The session is open to all and will take place place on Wednesday, 4 May at 08.30 in Salon Pasteur and will be avaliable to watch on demand via the ESOC platform.

In this series of interviews, we are going to meet the early career physicians and researchers who have been selected to present their research and learn more about them.

Today we introduce Aikaterini Theodorou.

She completed her Neurology Residency Program at the Second Department of Neurology, University General Hospital “ATTIKON” in Athens in December 2021 and since then is working on completing her PhD – project focused on Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy.

Tell us something about yourself.

I have published about 25 peer-reviewed medical journal manuscripts, most of them in high impact stroke journals and I have accomplished recently my Master Degree (MSc) on Biostatistics. To dedicate myself to the clinical stroke research is my career goal for the next years.

How did you get involved in stroke research? / Why did you choose this topic?

Significant role in my involvement in Stroke Research have played the satisfaction which a neurologist derives from saving lives and reducing disability in the field of cerebrovascular diseases and Dr Tsivgoulis Georgios, Professor and Chairman of Neurology at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in Greece.  Through his achievements and the impact of his hard work on the global as well as Greek evolution in the field of Cerebrovascular diseases he consists for every young neurologist a bright paradigm to imitate. For me it is a great fortune that Dr Tsivgoulis was the Program Director of my Neurology Residency and now serves as the Supervisor of my PhD.

What have been the most difficult challenges regarding your research career so far?

The most difficult challenge regarding my research career was my decision to stay and work in my country, in Greece, due to financial crisis in the past few years. Despite the difficulties deriving from this situation, the pleasure and the satisfaction to offer my services to the patients were always the driving force to continue. The other difficult challenge that every young, hardworking and ambitious neurologist has, are the endless work hours and the unbalanced relationship between work life and free time/home life. Fortunately my family and some very good friends support my projects and encourage every new goal.

What do you think a mentor should do to support the projects and the career of a mentee and, conversely, what should a mentee expect from a mentor?

To be considered as successful, a mentor should be an expert in his/her field, should be described as a life-long learner and should be excited to share his/her knowledge with you. He/She should treat others and especially his/her mentees respectfully, should be able to listen to you without distractions and should find or create solutions in every difficult situation. However what every mentee should expect from a mentor, is a mentor that fits you. A good mentor will try to create a strategy which will force you to become comfortable outside of your comfort zone but on the other hand will  be suitable for your needs, skills, talents and desires and push you towards a better you—not towards a clone of his/herself. Personally, I am very satisfied and appreciative of the mentor-mentee relationship with Dr Tsivgoulis.