'Young at HEART' doc makes Forbes’ prestigious 30-under-30 list

After being named on Forbes’ ‘30-under-30 Europe’ list for his ground-breaking work in to the human heart, 26-year-old Dr Mateusz Hołda said: “I am extremely happy that I found myself among the most prominent and most promising people of the young generation in Europe.” Jagiellonian University/Twitter

Dr Mateusz Hołda’s list of achievements is more than impressive. The first Pole to finish his doctoral thesis before finishing his master's studies, his doctoral dissertation received the Prime Minister's Award in 2018. After being named on the list he said: “Forbes appreciated our contribution to research on the structure of the cardiovascular system, especially its anatomy, which for many may seem like a closed science in which you cannot find too many discoveries.

“As you can see, we break this stereotype and conduct the highest quality morphological research, which is widely appreciated.

“A place on the "30 under 30" list is not only an honor, but also imposes a commitment to further hard work.”

TFN: When you were younger, or even now, who inspired you to achieve such greatness?

Dr Mateusz Hołda: Prof. Wiesława Klimek-Piotrowska was the person who I consider to be my mentor. She passed away suddenly in June 2018. She was an outstanding anatomist, exceptionally open to young people and devoted to academia. Together we created HEART.

Hołda (R) with his mentor Prof. Wiesława Klimek-Piotrowska (pictured centre) and the rest of his team. He said: “I do not treat distinctions as an individual appreciation of my person, but I dedicate them to all members of my scientific team - without them, I would not even make up a fraction of my achievements.uj.edu.pl

TFN: You are a prolific publisher of your research, how many papers have you published so far?

Hołda: So far I have published 53 scientific papers, most of them appeared in the best journals in the fields of cardiology and anatomy. I am also a co-author of 125 conference abstracts presented worldwide.

TFN: You are now an adviser with the Ministry of Science and Education, can you tell us more about the role?

Hołda: I am a member of The Young Scientists Council which is an advisory body to the Minister of Science and Higher Education in Poland. The Young Scientists Council identifies barriers to the career development of young scientists and prepares propositions for changes in the state's scientific policy, so that they foster the career development of young researchers. We also provide opinions on legal acts and create our own support programmes for young scientists.

TFN: Is this the first step in a political career?

Hołda: For now I am not considering a political career, nevertheless, I actively participate in the promotion of science in Poland. I also try to take part in the debate on the shape of Polish scientific policy and higher education reforms which are currently being carried out in our country.

One of three Poles to make the ‘30-under-30 Europe’ list – the other two being Mateusz Tomaszkiewicz who helped design some of the Witcher video games and Maciej Musiał, actor and co-producer of the Netflix series 1983 – the 26-year-old assistant professor was the first Pole to finish his doctoral thesis before finishing his master's studies, with his doctoral dissertation receiving the Prime Minister's Award in 2018.uj.edu.pl

TFN: What do you like to do to relax?

Hołda: Travelling, this is the time when I can get away for a moment from my responsibilities in the lab. On a daily basis listening to music and meeting friends.

The work of the team headed by dr. Hołda focuses on the study of cardiovascular morphology. The result is 3D printing and visualization of heart models developed for medical and scientific purposes.

Hołda is currently involved in the three-dimensional reconstruction of image data coming mainly from computed tomography, which later, thanks to 3D printing, takes the form of spatial models. They are used not only for scientific purposes - assessment of heart anatomy, but also by clinicians during the diagnostic and therapeutic process of a particular patient.