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 Kanishk Kaushik.

He is a a medical doctor and epidemiologist in training at Leiden University Medical Center, the Netherlands and will present “HEALTH-RELATED QUALITY OF LIFE AND PREVALENCE OF DEPRESSION IN PATIENTS WITH HEREDITARY AND SPORADIC CEREBRAL AMYLOID ANGIOPATHY (CARE-STUDY).”

Tell us something about yourself.

I am Kanishk Kaushik, a medical doctor and epidemiologist in training, and currently a 2nd-year PhD-student at the department of Neurology at the Leiden University Medical Center (the Netherlands). My research is focussed on (neuropsychiatric) outcomes and quality of life in patients with cerebral amyloid angiopathy CAA (a cerebral small-vessel disease subtype).

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

During my internship in neurology I got fascinated by the symptomatology of stroke and the fact that the origin of these complaints can be localized through well-performed neurological examination. The relatively poor prognosis of haemorrhagic stroke, as well as the diversity of symptoms due to CAA in patients at the outpatient clinic have particularly sparked my interest for the ‘invisible’ consequences of this disease. After having gained some experience at performing research through internships and outside of my medical studies, I decided to continue my journey with stroke research together with dr. Van Etten and prof. Wermer.

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

Narrowing down focus on a limited amount of studies that can be performed at the same time is what I consider to be one of the most difficult challenges in doing research. It can sometimes be overwhelming how much more there is to learn about this fascinating disease and that we can only tackle questions one step at a time. Conversely, this slow pace motivates and stimulates in further improving the quality of research that we do perform.

How do you balance work life and free time/home life?

Many aspects and challenges that make doing research interesting are transferable skills that we can also find in leisure time activities: cooking or baking is an experiment in it’s own, painting trains the observing eye, and road cycling clears the mind while improving both physical and mental endurance. I feel that focussing on all domains of life creates good balance and increases enjoyment, as well as perceived quality of life. Having cats helps too.

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?

Both mentor and mentee (or anyone in a collaborative relationship) should aim to create and facilitate an open discussion where thoughts can be freely exchanged on an equal level. Clarifying expectations and intentions, as well as timely follow-up of agreements can help to facilitate such collaborations. I feel that this can both increase work-pleasure, as well as the fruitfulness of the relationship.