Christian Medical College, Vellore, India
Christian Medical College, Vellore
By God’s abundant grace, I was fortunate to pursue my medical training at the Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore, India. The spirit of enquiry and finding answers was sown very early in all us MBBS students by our teachers of medicine. Though I have to confess that I did not make use of all the opportunities available, during our MBBS final year farewell, my wish list included studying and working in a large academic institution. Little did I know, as I went off to work in rural Kerala, that I would return to Vellore to pursue my MD in internal medicine and my subspecialization (DM) in nephrology in my alma mater.
During my training in nephrology under Prof. Chakko K. Jacob and Prof. George T. John, the near constant stream of hypotheses that were put forth by them for almost every unanswered clinical observation were an education in exploratory thinking. I became increasingly aware of the dearth of clinical research in India especially of the bench to bedside approach in nephrology. India carries the greatest burden and has the most people with kidney diseases, but has practically no relevant research, so that all our management protocols are dependent on what we learn from elsewhere. I nursed the dream of being able to bridge that gap in nephrology in India even if in a very small way.
A short-term training fellowship gave me the opportunity to visit the Imperial College, London, UK and work under the supervision of Prof. Charles Pusey and Prof. Liz Lightstone. This was a defining moment in my career and started a series of discussions on glomerulonephritis, particularly on the biology behind the geographic variation in the spectrum of glomerulonephritic diseases. A globally prevalent disease like IgA nephropathy presents and behaves differently in South Asians. The ‘malignant’ progression to end stage kidney disease is bewildering and needs to be addressed if our hope of seeing less kidney diseases has to be realized. I returned to CMC to start a small research program and think about the ideas that evolved into my fellowship.
I am grateful to my alma mater for having every ingredient to make my studies a success. I have outstanding clinical and mentoring support at CMC, and I have the expertise and mentorship of Prof. John Feehally and Dr Jonathan Barratt, University of Leicester, UK, Prof. Charles Pusey and Prof. Terence Cook from Imperial College, London, and Prof. Mohamed R Daha from Leiden University, Netherlands. I am looking forward to working with my collaborators in the glycomics team at C-CAMP, Bangalore. I am geared up for an exciting time in the next five years as we follow patients with IgA nephropathy and characterize their disease progression to understand why and how kidney damage progresses so rapidly in India.