Alexander Niessner takes up professorship in the field of Cardiovascular Medicine

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Alexander Niessner, Senior Physician at MedUni Vienna’s Division of Cardiology and Deputy Head of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, has taken up a professorship at MedUni Vienna in the field of Cardiovascular Medicine in accordance with §99(4).

Alexander Niessner’s clinical and scientific work at the Division of Cardiology at the Department of Internal Medicine II focuses on the treatment of coronary heart disease. One focus for him is the consideration of common comorbidities such as atrial fibrillation, heart failure, COPD, diabetes, rheumatological diseases, kidney diseases or oncological diseases. A particular challenge is posed by older patients, who are often affected by multimorbidity and polypharmacy.

The focus of his clinical work as deputy head of the cardiac catheterization laboratory is the evidence-based implementation of the ever-expanding range of interventional cardiology products available.

"While on the one hand we have significantly expanded the interventional options with plaque-modifying techniques, intravascular imaging and mechanical circulatory support, on the other hand the proportion of highly vulnerable patients is increasing," explains Alexander Niessner, "at this interface we are working on the critical implementation of international guidelines. In addition to interventional therapy, individualized pharmacotherapy is also crucial for the outcome of patients."

As a keen runner, lifestyle modification as the basis of treatment is also a matter close to his heart. As part of his scientific work, he is increasingly relying on the systematic processing of large data sets, supported by his team. To this end, routine data from hospitals as well as Austria-wide data on heart attacks are networked and secondarily processed by the Association of Austrian Social Insurance Institutions. He acquired his in-depth knowledge of routine data processing through a Master’s degree in Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. His scientific activities are reflected in publications in all top cardiology journals as well as renowned medical journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine or Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

His basic understanding of pathogenesis is based on his many years of research activity in basic research. In particular, a two-year research stay at Emory University in the USA as part of an FWF Schrödinger Fellowship on the role of immune cells in the development of myocardial infarction has significantly shaped his research focus. Based on this, Alexander Niessner is increasingly focusing on translational research into risk predictors, which has also led to the application for two European patents. He has also received several scientific awards for this, such as the prize for the best medical habilitation, the Future Prize (Zukunftspreis) of the City of Vienna and the Werner Klein Prize of the Austrian Cardiology Society for continuous outstanding work in the field of cardiovascular research.

At an international level, Alexander Niessner has been involved in the European Cardiac Society (ESC) for many years. He has already been reviewer or author of 5 European guidelines and has headed the working group on cardiovascular pharmacotherapy. He has also been involved in the design of postgraduate training courses and an MSc in Clinical Trials at the ESC and Oxford University. This European network also forms the basis for his intensive international research and publication activities. Alexander Niessner is also well networked in Austria, e.g. within the Austrian Cardiology Society (ÖKG) as the current deputy head of the interventional cardiology working group. This also reflects his commitment to training, as he is coordinating the development of an interventional cardiology curriculum for the ÖKG. An integral part of his academic work is the promotion of talent as a mentor, which is reflected in the high number of successful diploma theses, PhDs and habilitations that have emerged from his working group.