Alumni Profile: Louie Mar A. Gangcuangco23 November 2022 London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine https://lshtm.ac.uk/themes/custom/lshtm/images/lshtm-logo-black.png
Current job title and organisation
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Hawaii Center for AIDS, John A Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii at Manoa (Honolulu, Hawaii, USA).
Can you please tell us a bit about your current work/research?
At the Hawaii Center for AIDS, we conduct translational/clinical trials research on the effects of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection on various organ systems, including the heart and the brain. We recently received funding from the U.S. National Institutes of Health to study non-alcoholic fatty liver disease among our patients. Some of our publications include intensification studies on patients’ existing antiretroviral regimens and adjunct therapies to mitigate HIV-associated inflammation. We have also expanded our work to investigate the long-term effects of COVID-19.
What course and year did you study at LSHTM?
Master of Science in Clinical Trials, with degree conferred in November 2021.
Why did you choose to study with LSHTM?
It has always been my dream to earn a degree from LSHTM. When I was a research fellow at the Nagasaki Institute of Tropical Medicine (NEKKEN), some of my colleagues earned their Master’s degrees from LSHTM. They had nothing but praises about the program – and I said to myself, “One day, I will get a degree from LSHTM too!” The personal endorsements of my friends, along with the global reputation of LSHTM, the amazing faculty, and the flexibility of the MSc in Clinical Trials program were the major factors that made me decide to study at LSHTM.
Did you have to overcome any challenges to study with us?
One of the major challenges I had was joggling full-time work and graduate school. However, the courses in the MSc in Clinical Trials program were flexible enough to allow me to adequately pace myself. The courses had enough self-directed learning components, but at the same time provided access to tutors and resources to facilitate learning despite my busy schedule.
What were your favourite memories from your studies with us?
My most memorable experience was during the Data Monitoring and Interim Analyses course (CTM 206) where my classmates and I simulated being part of a data safety and monitoring board (DSMB). Based on the information provided to us, we had to decide whether the study should continue or not to ensure patient safety but at the same time ensuring integrity of the data. It was quite a learning experience and I am grateful to my classmates and to Dr. Elbourne for the great teaching sessions.
How has your LSHTM degree helped you in your career?
The MSc in Clinical Trials served as one of the key highlights of my resume when I was applying for residency training in Preventive Medicine and then later as faculty for the University of Hawaii. My current job responsibilities include running and overseeing clinical studies. The courses at LSHTM equipped me with the practical knowledge and skills on how to conduct clinical trials ethically, ensuring that patients’ rights are respected and safety prioritized. I also had a better understanding of various research methods, including randomization techniques, sample size calculation, clinical trials design, and data analyses.
What would you like to achieve in future?
My goal is to be a well-rounded physician who can bridge basic science research, clinical trials, and public health to uplift healthcare especially among the underserved.
I would like to thank LSHTM for the great support staff and amazing faculty! I hope to collaborate on projects in the future.