Evangelos K. Oikonomou
I am a DPhil student, working under the supervision of Prof Charalambos Antoniades in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine. The main focus of my research is the development of novel imaging modalities that can improve cardiovascular risk stratification through early detection of coronary inflammation. Coronary vessels are surrounded by a layer of adipose tissue (fat), which is known as perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT). Previous work from our group led to the discovery of a bidirectional interplay between PVAT and the adjacent vascular wall, with important implications for atherogenesis and coronary artery disease. We have shown that vascular inflammation can drive changes in PVAT phenotype, which we can now detect using novel computed tomography (CT)-based algorithms. My doctoral project involves the development and validation of this novel imaging tool, which uses PVAT as a sensor of vascular inflammation to detect coronary artery disease at its earliest stages, in order to improve risk stratification and guide appropriate risk reduction strategies.