ESOC 2018: Interview with Prof. Nikola Sprigg

What inspired you do research in intracerebral haemorrhage?

As a training clinician, I was heavily frustrated by the lack of definitive treatment in acute intracerebral haemorrhage. When I was doing my PhD,  the results of the factor VII studies were published and the lack of benefit further inspired me to pursue therapeutic options in this subject.

You have just completed the largest haemostatic trial in intracerebral haemorrhage. Where next?

In my view, this is the first step of the journey in trying to find a definite treatment for this devastating type of stroke. Having completed the largest study to-date, we are in the phase of trying to understand our patient characteristics to TICH-2.  The future may lie in better selection, understanding who stands to benefit and perhaps those are beyond any stage of clinical retrieval. We might look at exploring whether there is consensus, and resources to do another randomised controlled trial.

What would be your top tip to anyone wanting to run a large multinational clinical trial?

My advise would be to fill a team and surround yourself  with those with mutual interests and can count on support. At times, research can be stressful but very rewarding. It is very important to engage other clinicians during the process as any effort is collaborative.

What advise would you give to an aspiring clinical academic?

My advise would be to be persistent, persevere and reach out to people. I strongly suggest getting involved in projects and publications if possible.  Do not take any rejections personally and each exposure is a learning experience.  I would also advise you to be flexible, be prepared to work hard and look out for any potential opportunities.

How do you maintain a life balance between running large trials and training for triathlons?

It is difficult but I believe a healthy mind is needed for optimal performance at work. Being on a long bike ride or swim allows me to switch off, recharge and come back focused.

How do you manage time between clinical work and academia?

It is not easy and needs effort and good relationship among colleagues. I am very lucky to work with very good team members who understand my commitments.