Christoffer performs research one day a week

With a desire to continue his research efforts, Christoffer Bech Polcwiartek is now working 80% as a medical doctor at the Department of Cardiology at Aalborg University Hospital. The remaining 20% is devoted to his research in treatment with advanced pacemakers.

Christoffer Bech Polcwiartek’s postdoc project: Improving response to CRT pacing by using novel ECG markers of ventricular dyssynchrony Foto: Line Bloch Klostergaard, Region Nordjylland

After handing in his PhD dissertation Christoffer Bech Polcwiartek took the first steps towards his specialty  training.  He was offered an introductory position at the Department of Cardiology at Aalborg University Hospital where he currently diagnoses and treats patients suffering from cardiac arrythmia and other cardiac conditions. Soon after starting this position, he realized that although he was excited about his job, something was missing.

I missed dedicated time for research. If I were to spend time on research, I would have to do it in my spare time. I wondered how I could combine my work at the clinic with research,

explains Christoffer Bech Polcwiartek, postdoctoral Fellow, Aalborg University Hospital.

Released for research

The solution was to apply for postdoctoral scholarship from Danish Cardiovascular Academy which Christoffer was granted. This grant enables him to do research 20% of his work hours for a 5-year period.

“I’m now able to concentrate on my research one day a week as agreed with my manager. This is also accommodated in my work schedule. I have experienced a large degree of acceptance for this model that also happens to work extremely well for me,” concludes Christoffer Bech Polcwiartek.

Agreements of releases of medical doctors for research is not a new phenomenon at Aalborg University Hospital.

“To give newly appointed PhD students time and space to continue their research activities, it is crucial that there are possibilities to be released from your clinical work. We have excellent experiences with this in practice. At the department of cardiology, we currently have 4 early-career medical doctors employed as part-time researchers. Christoffer Bech Polcwiartek is on of these research talents, and his research activities contribute to the continuous development of the field at the benefit for patients with cardiac disease,” says Svend Eggert Jensen, Chief Physician at the Department of Cardiology, Aalborg University Hospital.

Conducts research in CRT pacemakers

Christoffer Bech Polcwiartek’s postdoc project deals with patients with heart failure who gets a CRT pacemaker implanted.  A CRT pacemaker functions by synchronizing the heart’s contraction in both the left and the right ventricle. In his clinical work Christoffer has wondered why some patients don’t respond to this type of treatment. By utilizing his own clinical experiences, epidemiological data from Danish and American registers as well as scientific studies from home and abroad, he works on finding the answer to this issue.

Engineers from Aalborg University contribute to the epidemiological part of the study. Working one day a week on your research is also an opportunity to meet new collaborators who are pivotal in the efforts to create new and groundbreaking research results.

“We feel extremely privileged to continue the important research collaboration we have established with Christoffer. He is a brilliant research talent. Our interdisciplinary research is a concrete result of the Faculty of Medicine’s mission: to pave the way for doctors and engineers to come up with innovative solutions together,” says Claus Graff, professor in electrocardiology at the Department of Health Science and Technology, Aalborg University.

We gain evidence-based clinical practice

Christoffer Bech Polcwiartek now focuses on his goal to find out why some patients, who meets the demands for pacemaker treatment, does not respond positively to the synchronized contraction of the left and right ventricle which the CRT-pacemaker is responsible for.

 “To maintain and develop high standards of treatment of patients requires clinicians to also be skilled researchers. Research takes time, and by prioritizing crucial scientific work we create more evidence on areas which are still underexposed. I’m happy that I am contributing to this,” says Christoffer Bech Polcwiartek.