T. Ravingerová Without a basic research is the future of science unthinkable

25. 11. 2015

Interview with MUDr. Táňa Ravingerová, DrSc., FIACS, the Institute for Heart Research of the Slovak Academy of Sciences.

MUDr. Táňa Ravingerová, DrSc.Táňa Ravingerová was born in Moscow in a family of scientists and this predetermined her next life. She studied at the Medical Faculty of Medical University in Moscow, where she became a degree MUDr.. She completed doctoral studies at the Institute for Heart Research of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, where she became a degree PhD. and later on also DrSc. in the field of normal and pathological physiology.

She has been working at the Institute for Heart Research SAS since 1978, first as a graduate student, later as a specialist of university, also on a position of senior researcher I. Since 1998, she is a Head of the Department of cardiovascular physiology and pathophysiology. She belongs to an internationally recognized experts who has been interested in research in the field of cardiovascular diseases in the long term.

Dr. Ravingerová graduated several interships abroad. She is also interested in pathological activity. Since 2011, she is a guarantor of PhD studies at the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the Comenius University in the study program Physiology of Animals. She also participates onto international projects. In addition to publishing activities in an international scientific journals, she opposed grant projects, dissertation thesis and an inaugural dissertations in Slovakia and abroad and she worked as a foreign opponent and as a member of committees for defence of PhD. and an inaugural dissertations in Czech Republic, Norway and South Africa.

She lectures at international scientific events (a total of about 70 invitations of lectures) in Europe and worldwide (Australia, India, Canada, Taiwan, Japan). She is an owner of many international awards: the International Society for Heart Research - European Section (ISHR-ES), The Physiological Society UK, Diploma of Honour – University of Pécs, Hungary. She was elected for a member of (Fellow) International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences (IACS) with the right to use title FIACS after her name. She was elected for Council Member of European Section IACS (IACS-ES) and appointed as Vice President of IACS-ES in 2014 and as Member of European Academy of Sciences and Arts (EASA) in 2015. She is also an owner of Silver Medal of Slovak Medical Association granted the motion of Slovak Physiological Society (2011) and an Honorary Plaque SAS Ján Jessenius for merits in medical sciences on SAS (2011).

MUDr. Táňa Ravingerová, DrSc., FIACS, will be a guest in the Science Café called the Science in the CENTRE on 26.11.2015 at 17:00 o´clock, which is organized by the National Centre for Popularisation of Science and Technology in Society a department of SCSTI SR. On this occasion we asked her for an interview.

M. BARTOŠOVIČOVÁ: Miss Doctor, could you briefly and by a popular was bring us closer the content of your lecture in Science Café on theme Cardiac ischemia and diseases of civilisation?

T. RAVINGEROVÁ: At first, in the lecture on theme Cardiac ischemia and diseases of civilisation I would like to explain to audience the basic functions of heart and what it needs for its function. Next, I would like to tell them about the explanation of cardiac ischemia and how they show themselves, as well as some options to prevent damage of heart muscle, with an emphasis on protective abilities of heart muscle and mechanisms of heart adaptation on ischemia. Next, I would bring closer to visitors the negative characteristics of factors associated with modern lifestyle (civilisation diseases) and their effect on ischemic myocardium, as well as on the effectiveness of adaptation processes. At the end of the lecture, I would like to point out the possibilities of "repairs" of damaged heart through the reactivation of protective adaptation mechanisms in the myocardium using non-invasive methods that can find application in clinical medicine.

M. B.: Based on what did you decide to study at the Medical Faculty?

T. RAVINGEROVÁ: I can´t answer this question unequivocally. When I was a child, I had different interests - underwater archaeology (looking for lost civilisation), then tailoring or hairdressing salons (because I really enjoyed it and I was good at it), foreign languages, literature, but not science or medicine. Maybe it was because I know how much time my parents had to devote to their work and I didn´t want to go the same way. Perhaps the reason was that my grandparents were from the medical sector and apparently there was something in my mind what led me to this and therefore I sent an application to medicine study that I never regretted. These were the years days of my students' life.

M. B.: What was your way to the science?

T. RAVINGEROVÁ: In the last year of my university studies I became interested in cardiology, particularly attracted me the lectures dedicated to research in the area of myocardial infarction. Because my knowledge of English I had an opportunity to help as a student of medicine to assist in the organization of scientific cardiac events and I met world-known scientific personalities, read scientific journals and so I understood that without science the progress in this field of study is not possible. It is logic that after finishing my study of medicine I tried to find employment in the centres focused on research in cardiovascular diseases and experimental cardiology.

MUDr. Táňa Ravingerová, DrSc. a doc. Ing. Albert Breier, DrSc.

Doc. Ing. A. Breier, DrSc., handed over  Honorary Plaque SAS Ján Jessenius granted in 2011 to MUDr. T. Ravingerová, DrSc.

MB: What are your work accomplishments consider most important?

T. RAVINGEROVÁ: For the biggest professional success I consider characterization so-called internal mechanisms of protection of healthy and sick heart through various forms it adaptation to certain adverse (stress) factors. by short-term or long-term adaptation can be increased the immunity of heart muscle against more serious damage of heart muscle caused by  myocardial ischemia and even protect the heart against the inevitable death. This concerns not only the heart, the phenomenon of adaptation is general and characteristic for the whole organism, all organs and tissues. In our study, we characterized the mechanisms by which can be induced in the heart acute and also longer lasting adaptation that protects the heart from lethal damage (myocardial infarction) and life-threatening arrhythmias in the heart of healthy animals and individuals suffering by a certain civilisation diseases (diabetes, metabolic disorders, increased blood pressure, stress).

M. B.: What do you work on at present?

T. RAVINGEROVÁ: At present, we want to expand the spectrum of procedures used by us to further adaptive non-invasive methods, which can also be used in human medicine, on patients with ischemic cardiac disease and other risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, particularly on elderly patients an also depending of age. We also want to clarify the molecular mechanisms of these protective phenomena , what will enable also their simulation by pharmacological means. We will also deal with the issue of heart failure that occurs as a consequence of several heart diseases, primarily heart attacks and various metabolic disorders, as well as the options of "repair" thus myocardial damage. For this we will use new modern equipment and technologies similar to those used in clinical medicine. In our research team is a many young active scientists and PhD student, which is the guarantee of successful solutions of new topics.

M. B.: Do you have any topic that you would like to achieve in the research of cardiovascular diseases?

T. RAVINGEROVÁ: The aim of our research is to contribute to the decrease of morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular disease, that, despite of huge progress in pharmacotherapy, interventional cardiology and cardiac surgery, still remains one of the main causes of mortality in general, not only in developed countries but also in developing countries. Our aim is to achieve the understanding that a gig part on this can play so-called alternative approaches where the emphasis is on restoring/ activation of own protective mechanisms in the body.

M. B.: You have completed several internships in the workplaces in the UK, Scotland, Austria, Greece, Canada, Norway. What do you appreciate on the experiences from abroad?

T. RAVINGEROVÁ: First of all, it is the experience from a multicultural and tolerant environment where everyone comes from elsewhere, he tries to have a self-assertion, be useful and learn new things, new methodologies, but also to get to know the mentality and culture of people from other countries. I appreciate on these internships the opportunities to do practical methodologies that I knew only in theoretical way. Every of these internships was different and therefore I had the opportunity to learn quite a range of spectrum of experimental methods. Another important benefit is that the person is depend on their own skills and he has to try to help himself in different difficult situations, so it´s an education for independence, which is a lack for some young workers now. But perhaps the most important benefit of these foreign internships is to establish of useful contacts with world-known scientific personalities which is the basis for further professional development and establishment of long-term international cooperation and joint projects.

M. B.: Where and how can be results of your research used in practice?

T. RAVINGEROVÁ: Activation of own protective adaptive mechanisms of the heart can have a positive contribution, for example in the prevention of ischemic heart disease, increase the body´s resistance to diseases of cardiovascular system in general and decrease the negative impact of factors related with modern lifestyle (civilisation diseases) on ischemic heart failure. It can also affect the percentage of the interventional medical help and the prognosis of patients who undergo cardiac medical help because of myocardial infarction, and to improve the quality of life of elderly people loaded by several risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

M. B.: What would you recommend to young people who want to study and want to be interested in science?

T. RAVINGEROVÁ:  First of all, I advise young people to get good language skills as soon as possible, nowadays it is English - the main language of science - and read specialized literature. It is important to choose scientific field as soon as possible, which they want to be engaged in and to stick to the objective aim. Do not count with adequate financial evaluation - it does not exist in science. Be prepared for intensive study, teamwork, occasional setbacks and know how to enjoy even the small successes.

M. B.: What is your opinion on the promotion of science?

T. RAVINGEROVÁ: Promotion of science is very important at present, because I meet with people who do not have any idea how hard this job is or they think that scientists sit in their laboratories and they only "play" with any theories, and they also a salary for this (miserable but only few people know this). It should be realized and the public has to be convicted that without a basic research, that does not bring immediate useable values, is the future of science unthinkable. Science is so far not only about so-called application results, about the fact that the car companies produce new and more efficient cars, that university graduates could immediately come closer to new technologies, but also about the research that does not have to bring immediate practical results, but also these that will prove to be revolutionary after 10 to 20 years. This is the purpose of science promotion.

M. B.: Thank you for an interview.

Interview prepared by PhDr. Marta Bartošovičová


Photos: archive of MUDr. T. Ravingerá and www.sav.sk

Translated by: LŠ

Popularization of Science and Technology , education

Medical Sciences

Science in the CENTER: Cardiac Ischemia and Civilization Diseases