Guruswamy Karnam, PhD student, Department of Immunology
I am from a small village in India called Bavikadapalli, in the province of Andhra Pradesh. I completed my Master’s in Biochemistry at Srivenkateswara University in Tirupati. Then I went to the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore to study the molecular pathogenesis of Salmonella in the group of Dr. Dipshikha Chakravortty.
When it came time to select the institute where I would work on my PhD, I discovered UMC Utrecht. It already had a strong reputation in India as a modern and great institution, and I was very interested to learn more about it.
During my PhD application process, I came to know about the work of Professor Linde Meyaard at UMC Utrecht, which enhanced my interest in applying. Professor Meyaard is working on the role of inhibitory immune receptors in balancing the immune system, and their influence on the outcome of autoimmunity, viral infections and cancer.
I think of UMC Utrecht as an attractive place for top scientists. The modern facilities, the excellent, open-minded professors and the collaborative atmosphere make it the ideal place to draw talent from all over the world. I think any kind of talent can easily fit at UMC Utrecht. Researchers collaborate across disciplines, both to assist each other and to extend the scope and impact of their own research.
Even more importantly, researchers are encouraged and supported throughout their studies. There is a clear line from hypothesis, via experiment, to publication. As a PhD candidate, I feel free to discuss my ideas openly, to share my observations and to collaborate with my colleagues.
The best of all worlds
The fact that UMC Utrecht combines a scientific institution with a clinical treatment center is a tremendous advantage to all. Researchers work in an environment with direct contact to clinicians and patients. Clinicians benefit from having world-class researchers close by, who are always willing to assist them. Patients, of course, benefit from the close collaboration between scientists and clinicians, which translates directly into better patient care.
This ‘circular’ relationship is exceptional among scientists, clinicians and patients. The practical application of our studies adds an important dimension to the science. At the same time, our ongoing research has a direct impact on a clinician’s chosen approach, and on eventual patient outcomes. It’s the perfect combination.
A strong and thorough ethics committee monitors the experiments on humans and animals. The ethics committee is committed to the very highest standards of scientific research and practice.
Fulfilling the promise
Professor Erik Hack, Chair of the Infection & Immunity Program, recently made a pledge that by 2015, patients with impaired immunity will get the very best care at UMC Utrecht, and that the knowledge and skills developed here will lead to an overall reduction in the risk of infection. I am convinced that this is the case. The cutting-edge research, collaborative spirit and innovative thinking at UMC Utrecht make that a certainty.
In my time at UMC Utrecht, I have been strongly encouraged to approach challenges in different ways. I have been supported by my colleagues and superiors to persevere in my efforts. I have been given the guidance and opportunities to make the most of my research efforts. In short, UMC Utrecht provides the ideal environment in which to develop top-quality research with a direct impact on patient care.