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Following the Department’s annual call for researchers to apply for Principal Investigator (PI) status, RDM is delighted to announce the designation of four new PIs for 2024.

Congratulations to (pictured left to right):

Dr Daniela Nasteska

Dr Nasteska trained as a medical doctor in Macedonia and transitioned to research during her PhD studies. She earned her PhD at Kyoto University, Japan, where her work centred around incretin pathophysiology in obesity and type 2 diabetes. After her PhD, she moved to the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium, where she worked on mechanisms underlying premature beta cell death in type 2 diabetes, before broadening her research with beta cell heterogeneity work at the University of Birmingham.

Dr Nasteska’s Diabetes UK-funded project explores protein synthesis dynamics in pancreatic islets over time and across beta cell population. The study aims to clarify the mechanisms that define total protein turnover and how/if they are amenable to type 2 diabetes drugs.

Dr Qiang Zhang

Dr Zhang joined the RDM Division of Cardiovascular Medicine in 2017 as a deep learning scientist. He completed a British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence Transition Fellowship and is now starting his group in AI for cardiovascular imaging.

The primary aims of the group are to enhance cardiovascular MRI with generative AI, automate cardiovascular image processing and reporting, and enrich large biomedical and population studies with novel AI imaging biomarkers.

Dr Winok Lapidaire

Dr Winok Lapidaire completed her formal education at University College Utrecht, University College London, and École Normale Supérieure, and Université Pierre et Marie Curie. Following completion of her PhD studies at University College London, she joined the Leeson group as a post-doctoral research associate at the Cardiovascular Clinical Research Facility (CCRF) in Cardiovascular Medicine in 2018.

Dr Lapidaire’s research group aims to make early diagnosis and continuous check-ups for vascular diseases accurate, affordable and accessible for everyone. She is particularly interested in women’s and global health topics, including understanding the impact of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy on the brain.

Professor Michael Zimmermann

Professor Zimmermann received his M.D. from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, USA, and did his postgraduate medical training at the University of California in San Francisco and Berkeley. He has held posts at the ETH Zurich in Switzerland and Wageningen University in the Netherlands and was named a Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher (Top 1%) 2017-2022. Currently, Professor Zimmermann is a Guest Professor in the Endocrinology and Diabetes Section at the Hospital of the University of Zurich and Chair of the Iodine Global Network - an international NGO.

Professor Zimmermann’s research interests include iron and iodine metabolism, biomarkers and interventions, nanotechnology, and iron stable isotopes as tracers in human studies.

About RDM PI designation

Researchers are eligible to apply for PI designation if they meet one of the following criteria:

  • Has been awarded the title of University Research Lecturer (URL) or Associate Professor, or hold a more senior appointment;
  • Holds an intermediate level fellowship awarded in open competition from a major external funder;
  • Holds significant funding in their own name, commensurate with their field of work and awarded in open competition, together with evidence of substantial independent research achievements, judged to be of equivalent standing by the RDM panel.

In addition, researchers must also demonstrate via their current CV that they have achievements in research and teaching, and make contributions to ‘good citizenship’ within RDM and the wider University.

More information about the role of PI in RDM and applying for PI status can be found on the Principal Investigator Guidelines webpages.