Dr Leanne Felkin - Senior Teaching Fellow

Dr Leanne Felkin is one of the module leaders on the postgraduate programme in Cardiovascular and Respiratory Healthcare. She tells us about her area of research and her career highlights to date.Dr Leanne Felkin

What is your role at NHLI?

I am the Senior Teaching Fellow on the MSc Cardiovascular and Respiratory Healthcare. 

What is your research about?

My research interests were the molecular biology and genetics underlying heart failure, and also the recovery from heart failure sometimes seen following the implantation of a type of artificial heart called a left ventricular assist device (LVAD). 

What have been the highlights of your career path so far?

A general highlight of my career has been the many collaborations I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of. Research is a team effort, and often that team spans many different disciplines, institutions and continents. It is a privilege to work with so many smart, interesting people. A specific highlight was the publication of my work showing that reverse remodelling and recovery from heart failure was possible in patients whose disease had a genetic cause. It was an unexpected finding, with a meaningful clinical impact. 

What led you to choosing your career in this particular field?

That’s tricky to answer as I’ve never had a ‘grand plan’. There are key points in a career where you can choose to take one direction or another. At those points, I simply followed my interests and my skills – mindful of what the next choice or position was likely to be - but not wholly driven by it. 

What is your favourite part of your role at NHLI?

My colleagues and their science. As I said before, it’s a real privilege to work with smart, interesting people especially as ultimately we all enjoy and want to do good science. NHLI hosts regular seminars where the latest research is presented and it’s a real pleasure to sit back and listen to what people have been up to.

What advice would you give yourself as a young person about to start your career?

Get a mentor. Life gets busy quickly and it’s easy to put off thinking about what's next in your career. Also, the choices available to you can be overwhelming. Regular meetings with a mentor mean you will have uninterrupted time to think about what you want to do next and how to get there. You will be able to unravel your thoughts in a structured way with support, meaning that the opportunities available to you become clear and you are able to easily eliminate what is not of interest, and focus on what is.

What would you be doing if you weren’t in the world of academia or science?

After a memorable school trip to a West End show, I’ve always fancied working on set engineering and construction in the theatre. 

What advice would you give to students considering joining NHLI?

Come join us! You can be part of a vibrant, diverse, research community doing cutting-edge science in one of the best universities in one of the greatest cities in the world. Once here, get involved. Go to seminars and lectures. Put your hand up and ask a question – remember, from undergraduate to Professor, science is our favourite subject and we all love talking about it.