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Vignesh Murugesan, a Postdoctoral Researcher in Department of Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics (DPAG), describes how he found his way from the large metropolitan town of Chennai in India to studying regenerative medicine here in Oxford, via an 8 year stint in Sweden.

Vignesh Murugesan

Since high school, I have always had a soft spot for science in general and biology in particular. I have been fascinated by the wonders of the human body and it was this which led me to participate in various science projects and exhibitions right from a young age. My undergraduate education in Biotechnology laid the foundation for my chosen career. It made me realise my passion towards science and research, the role it plays in the larger society and drilled in me a sense of commitment and service to society.

I have always wanted to be an explorer and discoverer of new worlds and perhaps it was this nature which brought me to my post-graduate training overseas. It was a difficult decision as I’m from a very close knit family and the idea of a new country, new culture and a new life was exciting but also quite daunting. After a few teary farewells I found myself in the beautiful landscape of Sweden where I did my post-graduate education. The initial excitement was soon dampened down by immense workload and stress, the biting Swedish winter and home sickness. But I did manage to make a few great friends in Sweden who were like my second family away from home. And after 8 long years of amusement and hard work my stay in Sweden culminated in my completion of Master of Science in Biotechnology from Chalmers University and PhD specializing in Cardiovascular Science from Lund University.

The ‘Swedish experience’ was unforgettable and it was there where I truly discovered my inner potential as a researcher. Sweden also brought out the team player in me as I was on committees for a variety of organisations throughout my training (e.g. Board member of Exodiab, health and safety for the entire biomedical center, member of election committee for the medical doctoral student council etc.). I have enjoyed working in various teams and being an active team player. In particular, while working in a team, I like that there’s greater synergy in accomplishing and addressing the same goal and that team working facilitates healthy risk taking, which can sometimes lead to more creativity.

I am now a Postdoctoral Research Scientist in the field of cardiovascular regenerative medicine in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, here in Oxford, funded by the British Heart Foundation. I work in Dr Nicola Smart’s research group. In addition to reigniting my passion in cardiovascular research, this job has immersed me in the wonders of neovascularisation. Our research aim is to regenerate the lost potential of the heart after a Myocardial infarction (a heart attack) via augmenting new blood vessels. We are confident that results gleaned from our research in this field can lead to drastic innovations in cardiovascular regenerative medicine.

It has been a privilege to live and work in the historic city of Oxford and I can proudly say that I have seen and experienced the best of three worlds, here, in Sweden and back home in Chennai. I have a keen interest in photography and videography and have recently started a Youtube channel called METAHUMANS with diverse content ranging from science to fitness, which I like to focus on during my free time (no dislikes please!).

I am thankful for what I am today and I hope to continue to do meaningful and innovative research in the future and look forward to working with experts in this field to gain latest knowledge and theories in regenerative medicine, whether that is here in Oxford or elsewhere in the world.

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