FESO Interview with Catarina Fonseca

To qualify as an FESO, members must demonstrate scientific quality and a willingness to actively volunteer in ESO. There are no age requirements, but FESO must meet minimum standards. FESO receive additional benefits, including participation in the Council of Fellows. Visit our website for more information on how to distinguish yourself as a FESO.

We hope you enjoy getting to know the Fellows who participate in the 2019 interview series and thank them in advance for taking the time to share with our readers.

For the October newsletter, we interviewed, Ana Catarina Fonseca, Neurology Department (Stroke Unit), Hospital de Santa Maria, University of Lisbon.She is an active member of WISE  as well as the ESO Education Committee and a passionate mentor.


What are your main fields of interest in stroke medicine and research?

My main field of interest in stroke medicine and research is cryptogenic stroke. I am really interested in trying to know more about strokes that are classified as having an undetermined etiology. I hypothesized that a fraction of them could be related to cardioembolism so I have been working closely with cardiologists and evaluating patients with cardiac magnetic resonance imaging to try to know if this imaging method tells us more than the ones currently used.

What is the role of ESO in facilitating and promoting the projects you are coordinating or where you are involved?

ESO is an outstanding network of stroke clinicians and researchers. I have benefited from ESO sponsored activities since I was a resident. The ESO Master in stroke Medicine gave me a broad knowledge about the field and introduced me to researchers with you whom I am still working nowadays. The stroke summer school, the ESO stroke science workshop and the department exchange program were also excellent networking opportunities. The ESOC is an important venue to be and a central meeting point with several research meetings going on.

What do you expect from ESO in the future to support research?

International research networks are very important.  ESO could have a more formal role helping to promote them and supporting them. The ESO Trials Alliance (ESOTA) led by the ESO Trials Network Committee, on behalf of ESO is an important step towards improving multinational collaboration.

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?

There have been different people throughout my career that have acted as mentors. Their advice has been very important, encouraging me to pursuit my research interests, to have a more active voice and also giving me opportunities to explore new paths. A mentor should be someone experienced to whom you can speak about your projects, someone that can help you see the connection between the data that you have not figured out yet and that can help you manage your career. It is also someone that helps you to develop resilience and go through those difficult moments when you doubt if your project is progressing in the right direction.

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