Medical Field: Rheumatology
Award: Finalist
Country: Croatia
Year: 2022
Research Work: Serum catestatin levels in patients with rheumatoid arthritis
Published in: Scientific Reports

Since I started working on research in rheumatology, I believed that I would be able to eventually create a study that would be worthy of applying for an award of this type. Despite believing in the value of my research work, I was still incredibly surprised and proud to have made it to the finals.


Petra Šimac, MD, is a rheumatologist at the Department of Rheumatology, Allergology and Clinical Immunology, Clinic for Internal medicine, University Hospital of Split, Croatia. She is also a PhD student at the University of Split, School of Medicine. 

The decision to become a physician was a clear one, since she had always been interested in how diseases develop, how to diagnose them and later treat them. After graduating, she first started to work in the emergency department. During two years of work, she realized that internal medicine interested her more. And among all the branches of internal medicine, rheumatology was her first choice. 

In the opinion of Petra Šimac, MD, rheumatology is still an underdeveloped profession that allows a doctor to work both as a clinician and a scientist, and that is also her biggest motivation – to progress, to do better in every respect through research.
Her latest research evaluated serum catestatin (CST) levels and its possible association with anthropometric, laboratory and clinical parameters in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Our study showed that serum CST levels are significantly higher in patients with RA compared to the healthy controls and we found a significant positive correlation of serum CST levels with the disease activity scores and the disease duration. These results imply that CST could be linked with the complex RA pathophysiology and activity. The scientific and clinical contribution of this research is proposing insight into a potential indirect indicator of cardiovascular (CV) disorders in patients with RA.

Petra Šimac, MD, is one of the lucky people who truly love what they do. And this love is her main motivation to keep going.