Cardiologist does a double take on PhD

To mark a family milestone, Sydney cardiologist and PhD student Dr Louis Wang  decided to submit his doctoral thesis to the University of NSW on the same day as his gastroenterologist partner Dr Emily He, accompanied by their children.

Dr Wang and Dr He first met as medical students at UNSW in 2001 and married in 2007.

Dr Wang  completed cardiology specialist training at St Vincent’s Hospital and has done his doctoral research  at the St Vincent’s Clinical School and the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute.

His research interest is in the molecular and structural determinants of myocardial dysfunction and prognosis in heart failure. Dr Wang has helped pioneer high frequency echocardiography in Australia and its use in elucidating an important mechanism for heart failure

During his research, Dr Wang says he has benefited enormously from the supervision of leading cardiologists and cardiovascular researchers at UNSW and the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute. These include Professor Diane Fatkin, Professor Michael Feneley, Professor Christopher Hayward and Dr Jane Yu, who encouraged him to perform translational research in heart failure pathogenesis using high frequency echocardiography.

His wife Dr He did her PhD on projects to improve bowel cancer control in Australia that combined her clinical knowledge and experience as a gastroenterologist with her research skills.

She worked with leaders in cancer research at UNSW – Professor Robyn Ward and Associate Professor Karen Canfell, who is Director of the Cancer Research Division at Cancer Council NSW.

“We thought it would be nice for both of us to submit our theses together and share this milestone with each other and our family,” says Dr He.

The day was made extra special with their daughter, Charlotte, and son, Alexander, who turn 6 and 3 respectively this year, also there to witness the occasion.

“Our eldest is old enough to understand how much work had gone into both our theses in the past few years,” says Dr He, who gave birth to Alexander during her PhD candidacy.

“Coming home at the end of each working day to their smiling faces was and will always be for us our greatest inspiration,” says Dr Wang.


The path towards completing both PhDs on time was a real team effort, with the couple crediting the unwavering support of both their families.

“Our parents are the real unsung heroes. Without their enormous help, none of this would have been possible,” says Dr He.

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