5 Health Researchers You Should Know About

health researcher in a lab

The field of health research is expanding exponentially. Recent estimates show that the number of published scientific papers has grown by around 9% every year for the past few decades. In biomedical sciences alone, more than 1 million papers are produced each year. 

It would be impossible for anyone to keep up with all of this information. But if you’re interested in the health and wellness industries, you’ll want to keep informed of the latest research.

Read on for our top pick of five of the most influential health researchers around the world right now, and the fascinating discoveries they are making.

5 Influential Health Researchers and Why You Should Know About Them

Health research is evolving rapidly. Influential experts are now using a wide range of technologies to look for cures for illnesses. These developments are aimed at improving our wellbeing and quality of life. 

New studies and clinical trials are happening all the time, We’ve selected five of the most influential health researchers, specializing on a wide range of clinical topics, to bring you up-to-date with the latest developments. 

1. Isabel Van de Keere 

Isabel Van de Veere is the founder and CEO of Immersive Rehab, a London-based start-up. Their aim is to use virtual reality to transform and improve the experience of neurological rehabilitation.

Isabel herself had a serious accident at work in 2010. This accident significantly affected her mobility and independence. She found the rehabilitation period isolating and boring.

When she had recovered, she sought to use her skills as a biomedical engineer to transform the way physical therapy is managed. Immersive Rehab uses virtual reality technology to make rehabilitation more fun and engaging.

Patients are able to perform a variety of exercises and interact with virtual objects. This makes the process more engaging and motivating. It has also been shown to lead to important improvements in motor function. 

2. Tu Youyou

Tu Youyou is a Chinese Medical Scientist who studied at the University of Beijing. She won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2015 for her work on malaria treatments. 

Tu Youyou studied the traditional approaches used by Chinese medicine practitioners to treat malaria. She extracted a chemical compound, artemisinin, from the traditional herb know as sweet wormwood. This herb had been used to treat fever for many years. 

This discovery led to the development of anti-malarial drugs containing artemisinin. These drugs have saved the lives of millions of people infected with malaria all over the world.  

3. Kenneth R. Chien

One of the top health researchers in the field of cardiovascular science is Kenneth Chien. His work on regenerative cardiovascular medicine has been published in many scientific journals throughout his long career. 

The current focus of his lab at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden is on the molecular and cellular structure of the heart. Furthering understanding in this area will help to treat heart disease and improve survival rates. 

Dr. Chein’s research team consists of a wide range of health professionals. They adopt an interdisciplinary approach to make revolutionary discoveries about the human heart. Their work combines stem cell biology, biotechnology, and developmental biology. 

In 2019, the Chien lab undertook the first human study of an mRNA therapeutic. This approach uses proteins to treat disease. This treatment has the potential to reverse the onset of vascular heart dysfunction. 

4. Charles Taylor

Charles Taylor has a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. He is now the founder of and Chief Technical Officer at HeartFlow. HeartFlow’s aim is to help patients with suspected heart problems to avoid invasive diagnostic procedures and to improve treatment outcomes.   

Recent studies show that approximately 30-60% of patients who undergo coronary angiography have no obstructive heart disease. This is an invasive procedure that may well currently be being overused. This represents a waste of resources and presents a risk of complications to patients.

HeartFlow technology takes the data captured during a CT scan and uses this to generate a 3D model of the patient’s heart. It uses this model to identify any blockages and predict the impact these might have on blood flow. 

This helps doctors to understand how serious a patient’s coronary heart disease might be. By identifying where blood flow is most restricted, surgeons know where to focus any invasive procedures.

5. Larissa G. Ducan 

Not all health services research is focused on the realm of physical health. Larissa G. Duncan is an Associate Professor at the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her work in the field of mindfulness is internationally recognized. 

The main focus of Professor Duncan’s work is on developing a framework to promote and assess the value of mindfulness in parenting. This includes demonstrating the benefits of mindfulness practices and compassion training for pregnant women, children and families.

Her work seeks to provide benefits in diverse contexts. Specifically, she has worked on projects aimed at reducing racial and ethnic disparities in child and family well-being. This includes improving the cultural relevance of mindfulness practices. 

Professor Duncan published a book in 2019 entitled Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting. This book, based on mindfulness research, aims to support expectant and parents in learning mindfulness.

These skills have been shown to be beneficial in helping new parents to cope with the adjustment and dramatic life changes that accompany having a new baby. This supports the development of a compassionate and attuned parenting style.  

Developments in Health Research

The work of health researchers has evolved over the last few decades. Advanced technology has transformed ways of studying and researching the human body. Scientists are at work every day to increase humanity’s understanding of what makes us healthier and what makes us sick. 

From artificial intelligence and robotics to wider community studies to improve well-being and mental health, discoveries are happening all the time to improve the human condition. Are you interested in more of the latest developments in health and well-being? Make sure you check out the rest of the site for more informative articles.