Salva Yurista successfully defended his PhD thesis

On Wednesday the 30th of September 2020, Salva Reverentia Yurista successfully defended his thesis entitled “Cardiovascular Effects of Non-Cardiovascular Drugs in Heart Failure” in the Academy Building of University of Groningen. Salva’s PhD defense took place right in the middle of COVID-19 waves when a maximum of 30 persons can be present in the Aula. PhD defense took place hybrid (partly online, partly presence in the Aula), but everyone dressed up for the occasion to make sure that this memorable moment still got the seriousness and importance it deserves. Salva will continue his work as a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Cardiology of the University Medical Center Groningen, aiming to unravel the role of ketone bodies in heart failure. Congratulations Salva! We wish Salva good luck in his future endeavours!

Supervisors: Prof. dr. Rudolf de Boer, Prof. dr. Herman Silljé, Dr. Daan Westenbrink.

The opponents: Prof. dr. Jan Glatz, Prof. dr. Christoph Maack, Prof. dr. Hiddo Lambers Heerspink, Prof. Bart van de Sluis, Prof. Wiek van Gilst and Dr. Kevin Damman

Salva: ‘A hybrid thesis defense during the COVID-19 pandemic makes the circle of attendees is no longer restricted by geography — I love the fact that my family and friends were able to watch the entire process. It made me feel surrounded by my loved ones!’

A short summary of his work:

Heart Failure (HF) is a clinical syndrome that represents the final stage of most cardiac diseases, and the incidence of HF is approaching epidemic proportions. Despite improved pharmacologic and device management of patients with HF, we are still unable to restore cardiac function in most patients, nor can we rejuvenate the heart. Thus, clinical and preclinical investigations are still needed to establish innovative therapies that could tackle this problem. Furthermore, polypharmacy becomes prevalent in HF patients because HF can be complex and often accompanied with more than 1 comorbidity. As the number of comorbidities increases, the therapeutic regimens are also more complex. On the other hand, many drugs that are not used to treat HF may potentially affect the cardiovascular (CV) system. In his thesis, he addressed the cardiovascular effects of non-cardiovascular drugs [i.e Sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitors (SGLT2i), Factor Xa (FXa) inhibitor and ketone esters (KE)] in HF. He also described the potential benefits of SGLT2i in diabetic atrial fibrillation and the cardioprotective properties of ketone bodies. The results presented in his thesis provides molecular insights into the cardiovascular effects of SGLT2i, FXa inhibitor and KE in the failing heart.