Sanduni Fernando is a recent medical graduate of Monash University, where she studied at Gippsland Medical School. She has worked at the Musculoskeletal Unit at The Alfred hospital under the tutelage of Professor Flavia Cicuttini.
What was your area of study at university?
I have just completed an MB BS from Monash University. Prior to that, I completed a BBMedSc (Immunology and Biochemistry) and BSc (Honours) degree, both at the University of Melbourne.
What makes Professor Cicuttini a good mentor?
Working with Flavia has been fantastic. She is very easygoing and has this amazing sense of direction when it comes to research. From day one she made it her priority to ensure that whatever project I was working on, I had her utmost attention, commitment and ideas each time we discussed my progress.
Is there a key learning area Professor Cicuttini has instilled in you that you won’t soon forget?
I think sometimes we go so far into research that we forget the bigger picture. Flavia has taught me that medical research requires “the telling of a story” and it is this story that will draw readers into what is really happening at the root of the research that we do.
Are there any projects you have worked on that you are particularly proud of?
I’m extremely proud of my Honours project — titled “The role of beta cell specific fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase over expression on glucose tolerance” — at the University of Melbourne, which gave me my initial insight into medical research.
What’s next for you?
I will be interning at Peninsula Health in 2013 and continuing my research with Professor Cicuttini. For now, I’d like to follow infectious diseases, general medicine or paediatrics. All three are very different specialties and each has its own appeal.
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