Ms. Ramalakshmi Gayathri Vinjamuri, a final year student of Integrated Master of Science program in Systems Biology at the University of Hyderabad has been selected for the MD (equivalent to MBBS in India) – PhD program at the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore.
Duke- NUS Graduate Medical School was established in 2005 as a collaboration between two top world-ranking institutions of higher education: Duke University, USA and the National University of Singapore (NUS). Each year, about 60 students are selected from all over the world into this competitive program. The selection criteria included medical shadowing, research experience and evidence of passion for healthcare, in addition to academic performance and score achieved in a competitive exam called MCAT.
This July, she would be joining the MD (4 years) program and has the choice of pursuing PhD from 3rd year. The MD PhD program is structured as first two years clinical training, third – research year which can be extended into PhD (typically 4 years), followed by 2 years of advanced clinical training to receive the MD PhD degree in 2028. After obtaining the degree, she has a 5-year commitment to Singapore, during which she may specialise further as a clinician-scientist. Such is her confidence in her dream that she decided to take this long 8 year programme immediately after her IMSc degree at UoH.
Ms. Gayathri is currently doing her Master’s project in IIIT Hyderabad, in the Center for Computational Natural Science and Bioinformatics, under the guidance of Prof. Dr PK Vinod. During her IMSc degree at UoH in the past 5 years, she gained research experience by being part of research labs in the School of Life Sciences at UoH, JNU and NII, New Delhi. This coupled with medical shadowing in the Department of Rheumatology at the Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS), and being brought by doctor parents and social-entrepreneurs – Dr Prakash Vinjamuri and Dr SV Kameswari – led her to consider the MD PhD program as the next step after graduating from UoH. Such a graduate entry clinical training plus research program is not common in India as of now. So the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore was her top choice to pursue an MD PhD.
Ms.Gayathri believes the multidisciplinary training received in systems biology at UoH coupled with medical training will enable her to reach out to the society through her research and clinical service. Her dream is to be part of the cycle of the bench to bedside research and make a difference to the healthcare system.