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    Junior doctor earns acclaim for vascular research

    Townsville University Hospital junior doctor Tejas Singh has published more than 30 peer-reviewed research articles aimed at improving the management and outcomes for patients with vascular diseases.

    Dr Singh has conducted his award-winning PhD research under the mentorship of Professor Jonathan Golledge, an academic vascular surgeon and international leader in peripheral artery disease. Professor Golledge heads the Queensland Research Centre for Peripheral Vascular Disease (QRC-PVD), which is located at Townsville University Hospital (TUH) and James Cook University (JCU).

     “The support and research infrastructure available at QRC-PVD, JCU, have been instrumental in my PhD,” says the junior doctor.

    Dr Singh won a $5000 prize for best research paper at the Australian and New Zealand Society of Vascular Surgery conference. The study, ‘Association of Chronic Venous Disease with Major Adverse Cardiovascular Events’, shows that people with more severe venous disease are at higher risk of having a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack or stroke.

    He is part of a team investigating biomechanical engineering techniques to better predict abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) rupture, which is estimated to be responsible for 200,000 deaths a year worldwide. The research, published in the British Journal of Surgery and Journal of the American Heart Association, has earned him a spot as one of five finalists chosen to present at the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Queensland state conference in competition for the Neville Davis Prize.

    “When an AAA grows up to a certain size, it has a higher risk of rupture and bleeding, potentially causing death,” Dr Singh says. “The current method of estimating the risk of rupture is by measuring the aortic diameter. This measurement is used to help decide when to perform surgical repair. However, some small AAAs will rupture before they reach the current threshold for repair and some large AAAs remain stable without repair. This suggests that diameter is an imperfect prognostic measure, so we're looking at using biomechanical engineering techniques, which can perhaps better predict the risk of rupture of aneurysms.” 

    World-class program

    Dr Singh said Professor Golledge had been instrumental in his PhD. Professor Golledge, recently elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences in recognition of his exceptional contribution, leads a translational research program that is innovative in treatment approaches to vascular disease.

    “There’s ample opportunity to collaborate with other researchers nationally and internationally,” Dr Singh said of the Townsville-based PhD program.

    He said Townsville University Hospital’s supportive environment and the breadth of clinical opportunities were two of the great advantages of training in Townsville. “As a junior doctor at Townsville University Hospital, you get more hands-on experience and opportunities to develop clinical independence in comparison to metropolitan hospitals,” he said.

    Research that matters

    Dr Singh was awarded a $250,000 Queensland Government research fellowship and a total of $90,000 in Townsville Hospital and Health Service Study Education Research Trust Account (SERTA) Grants for his aneurysm study and another recently published investigation highlighting the   in North Queensland and the need to reduce and prevent amputations.

    “It’s evident in literature that people with diabetes are at higher risk of having lower limb major amputations,“ Dr Singh says. “Our study compared the amputation rates between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous people over 15 years.”

    “The findings were that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples had a higher burden of major amputations secondary to diabetes. The other finding from that paper was that the burden of amputations in our region seems not to be reducing, in contrast to some of the other populations in Australia.”

    How to apply for a specialist training position in Vascular Surgery

    James Cook University is proud to support The Northern Queensland Regional Training Hubs program. We are a medical training network integrating private and public hospitals and health services, GP clinics and James Cook University. We collaborate to provide doctors in training with unique medical training opportunities from intern to fellowship in Northern Queensland while enjoying the lifestyle that only this part of Australia can offer.

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