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The Aortic Dissection Charitable Trust: Perspective from a funder, Catherine Fowler, Trustee

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The Aortic Dissection Charitable Trust

Preface: I recently had the opportunity to connect with Catherine Fowler, Trustee from The Aortic Dissection Charitable Trust to learn more about the important work underway at the Trust.

Tell us more about the mission of The Aortic Dissection Charitable Trust.

At the Trust, we’re passionate about making a real difference for those affected by aortic dissection, a condition too often overlooked, yet with devastating impact. Our mission is set on improving survival rates and quality of life through research that digs deeper into the understanding of the condition’s causes and seeks better ways to diagnose and treat it.

We’re all about bringing together the brightest minds and the bravest hearts in this mission – researchers, healthcare professionals, and not to forget, patients themselves. Their stories and insights are vital, shaping research that truly matters.

What motivates you the most in your work at The Aortic Dissection Charitable Trust?

It’s the potential to make a real difference in the lives of families affected by aortic dissection. Knowing that our efforts in research and advocacy could lead to improved diagnosis, treatment, and ultimately save lives provides a profound sense of purpose and drive.

Could you please provide information on your yearly application cycle at The Aortic Dissection Charitable Trust?

We open for grant applications once a year, usually as the new year begins. It’s a time we look forward to, as it brings fresh opportunities to support innovative research in aortic dissection. We warmly invite researchers and healthcare professionals passionate about making a difference in this field to join us. Details and submission deadlines can be found on our website, and we’re here to help every step of the way.

May I inquire about the eligibility criteria for individuals or entities seeking to apply for funding from your organization?

TADCTs welcomes applications from individuals and research teams affiliated with the NHS in the UK, the Health Service Executive in Ireland, or a registered university within these regions. Our aim is to foster a community of dedicated professionals who share our commitment to advancing aortic dissection research. If you’re driven by a passion to improve patient care in this field, we’re keen to hear from you and explore how we can support your work.

In your opinion, what type of funding applications stand out?

In my view, funding applications that truly stand out are those with a clear, compelling vision for how the research can advance our understanding of aortic dissection and improve patient outcomes. Proposals that demonstrate a novel approach, backed by a strong rationale and a well-defined methodology, tend to catch our attention. Additionally, projects that show potential for significant impact, particularly those that involve patient engagement or address gaps in current treatment protocols, resonate deeply with our mission. It’s the blend of innovation, feasibility, and potential for real-world application that makes a submission stand out to us at The Aortic Dissection Charitable Trust..

What sets your organization apart is its unique and broad consideration for various types of applications. Could you please provide more details on the specific areas your organization is open to considering?

The Trust takes pride in its open-minded approach towards funding applications. We’re keen on a diverse range of projects, from cutting-edge genetic research to practical improvements in patient care. What truly captures our attention are initiatives that promise to enhance every stage of the patient journey, from early detection through to long-term management. It’s this comprehensive perspective that sets us apart, ensuring we back research that can genuinely improve lives affected by aortic dissection. If you’re passionate about making a real difference in this field, we’re eager to support your project.

Catherine, I’m impressed by your organization’s patient engagement in research projects. Could you share more details about this initiative and its impact on the research?

Involving patients directly in our research projects is something we hold dear. Their firsthand experiences bring invaluable insights, helping to shape research that’s truly attuned to patient needs. This approach not only enriches our projects with real-world perspectives but also ensures the outcomes are genuinely beneficial for those affected by aortic dissection. It’s a collaboration that truly empowers both our research and the people we aim to help. What’s unique about our charity is the involvement of our Research Advisory Group, where every research and medical professional is matched with a lay person who has lived experience of AD, ensuring a balanced and deeply informed approach to every project we fund.

Are there recent funding recipients that you are particularly proud to have funded?

There are a few recent projects we’ve funded that I’m particularly proud of. One such project is the “AORTA-AI” initiative led by Dr. Jim Zhong. This pioneering research uses artificial intelligence to improve the rapid diagnosis of Acute Aortic Syndrome, a critical area where timely intervention can save lives. Another notable project is the Pan-London Decade-Long Analysis of Misdiagnosis of Acute Aortic Syndromes (PanDAMAAS) spearheaded by Dr. Farhin Holia, focusing on understanding, and reducing misdiagnoses of aortic dissection, which is crucial for early and effective treatment. Additionally, the work by Matthew Machin on developing a core outcome set for type B aortic dissection research stands out for its potential to standardise and improve the quality of research in this field. Each of these projects exemplifies the innovative and impactful research we strive to support, directly contributing to better patient outcomes and advancements in the understanding and treatment of aortic dissection.

What advice do you have for researchers interested to apply for your funding?

For researchers keen on applying for our funding, my heartfelt advice is to ensure your proposal clearly outlines how your project can make a tangible difference in the understanding or treatment of aortic dissection. We’re particularly drawn to innovative ideas that promise to improve patient outcomes. Don’t hesitate to highlight the patient-centered aspect of your work; it’s at the core of what we value. And remember, we’re here to support your journey in making a significant impact in this field.


We would like to thank Catherine Fowler for sharing more about the mission, funding program and initiatives underway at The Aortic Dissection Charitable Trust.

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