Mr Mergental was appointed as a consultant liver transplant and multi-organ retrieval surgeon in the Liver Unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, in 2010, and have held an honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer position at the University of Birmingham since 2013. His career has focused on the field of transplantation, with a special academic interest in the organ donation, preservation, and utilisation of high-risk livers.
Hynek led the introduction of the machine perfusion programme at the Liver Unit and established a Liver Machine Perfusion Group at UoB, that has since evolved into one of the most active liver transplant research programmes in Europe. Through his leadership in perfusion trials, the Birmingham team pioneered its adoption into standard clinical practice. Mr Mergental’s work on the Consortium for Organ Preservation in Europe (COPE) trial resulted in the Birmingham team being the highest recruiter, contributing 50% of patients to this landmark study published by Nature in 2018.
His team research in liver viability criteria was essential for the subsequent Wellcome Trust funded Viability testing and transplantation of marginal donor livers (VITTAL) clinical trial which demonstrated that 7 out of 10 currently discarded donor livers can be safely transplanted. The study was published by Nature Communications in 2020, and has attracted considerable attention, reaching the top 2% of scientific publications, measured by the Altmetric score, within a week of its release; the criteria are now being adopted by teams world-wide. The team’s machine perfusion research has consistently attracted the attention of the public and media, received multiple awards from peers, and was put forward by the UoB as an Impact Study Case for the Research Excellence Framework 2021 assessment. Mr Mergental’s liver viability research portfolio includes mechanistic studies and therapeutic approaches to resuscitate fatty organs.
He published in scientific journals including Nature, Nature Communications, New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of Hepatology or American Journal of Transplantation, reporting different liver perfusion strategies as means to increase utilisation of marginal livers. The group manuscripts’ novelty regularly attracts accompanying editorials or invited reviews in peer-reviewed journals, and Mr Mergental have become an internationally recognised expert in the field.
Hynek developed an expertise in clinical trials methodology, with a particular focus on early phase trials and medical devices investigations. He have received funding from the Wellcome Trust, Medical Research Council, and industry collaborations. In 2021 he was involved to the King’s Colleague and University Hospitals Birmingham joint NIHR bid to establish the world-largest Biomedical Transplant Research Centre, where he led the organ perfusion research theme.