Medical research and scientific work are my life
Georg Semmler, MD, from the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Medical University of Vienna, is a researcher solely devoted to his work. Having been nominated is a great honour since it is the first time he has had the chance to be nominated for an international award of this kind. Making it to the finals would be very rewarding since it acknowledges the efforts he put into research over the last years to achieve such a goal.
He and his research team aimed to create and validate a non-invasive algorithm for risk stratifications in patients who were cured of chronic hepatitis C. This non-invasive algorithm based on liver stiffness measurement which uses transient elastography and a blood-based marker (von Willebrand factor/platelet count ratio) identifies patients at high vs. low risk for hepatic decompensation (developing ascites, variceal bleeding or hepatic encephalopathy) after the treatment of chronic hepatitis C. Importantly, these parameters are readily available and highly accurate in predicting clinically significant portal hypertension and associated complications.
One of the conclusions of the study is that patients in the high-risk group should be followed more stringently due to their risk of hepatic decompensation, while patients in the low-risk group can be managed outside of specialized units since they are not at risk for hepatic decompensation.
He is a researcher based in Austria whose interest in research started in medical school. For him, combining research and clinical routine is essential since it not only helps the patients to receive state-of-the-art therapies and medical care, but it also helps the clinician himself to always be up-to-date with medical progress.
As far as the conditions for the research work are concerned, they strongly depend on the institution one works at: it can be either very supportive and appreciative, or not. Although he loves research a lot, he derives a lot of satisfaction from clinical work too, where he helps severely ill patients.
He tries to constantly keep track of all the progress in gastroenterology, which is now not very different than before the corona time. He appreciates the spare time he gets during a “lockdown” or quarantine which he tries to use to keep on track with recent publications.