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Abhinav Paul Kongari

Student of MSc Computational Medicine

1. Hi Abhinav, like many of our postgraduate students, you've stayed on from undergraduate level. Why study MSc Computational Medicine?

Hello! Sheffield is just too amazing to leave. I have absolutely loved all my experiences here - the academics and extracurricular activities. The opportunities here have been endless and the staff treats you like family.

I was lucky to have found out about Insigneo in my final year, which is an exceptional organisation for research in Biomechanics. Having discovered more about the advancements that in silico medicine will bring in the near future, it seemed an obvious choice to stay in Sheffield for the MSc.

Abhinav-reduced

2. What's been your favourite module(s) so far?

I enjoyed our module on Regulatory affairs for medical devices, primarily because it focused not only on the research of medical devices but also on the quality assurance and regulations that go around it. Our lecturer Dr. Pinaki Bhattacharya did a marvellous job in keeping the material extremely enjoyable and interesting. Also, the module involved an interdisciplinary group aspect which was an added opportunity of approaching a common objective through varying perspectives.

Yes! It completely blew my mind when I first saw the use of VR in our module.

3. There's virtual reality technology used in the teaching - what was the most interesting / mind-blowing experience you've had so far using it?

Yes! It completely blew my mind when I first saw the use of VR in our module. When we were told that we would be using it for our assignment, I couldn’t contain my excitement. Our research objective was to investigate spinal fusion surgery to relieve pressure from intervertebral discs in degenerative disorders. VR allowed us to visually investigate and observe the stresses at different points on the bone.

I feel the #WeAreInternational campaign has provided all international students, especially EU students, a feeling of comfort in that the university supports us.

4. You appeared in The Guardian (2016) to advocate studying in the UK, particularly Sheffield. Do you think the University's long-standing #WeAreInternational campaign, celebrating our global community, has been influential?

I have found Sheffield to be one of the most diverse places in the UK since I began my studies. With the current political turmoil, I feel the #WeAreInternational campaign has provided all international students, especially EU students, a feeling of comfort in that the university supports us. Having been to several international conferences organised by the NUS, I can say that Sheffield’s campaign has spearheaded the celebration of a global community within the UK and influenced other universities across the country.

5. You were also the Chair of the International Students' Committee. What's been the most satisfying work you've done in this role?

Being the chair of the International Students’ Committee was a crucial part of my undergraduate life. Especially due to it being the period where the Committee entered it’s golden jubilee year. The most fulfilling event that we conducted was a series of talks called ‘Breaking Boundaries’. These aimed to break social stigma and taboo with open panel discussions. The topics ranged from mental health, LGBTQ+ and many more.

6. Aside from the above, you've been a real trailblazer since you started studying here. For example you won 'Highly Commended' award in the On-Campus Above and Beyond category of the Student Employee of the Year 2017. You clearly seem to thrive on the extra-curricular opportunities available…

As mentioned earlier, Sheffield provides endless opportunities. I always abide by the principle that everyone has the capability to achieve anything they desire, so long as they work hard. Also, I am a very active person so if I have any free time, I end up annoying my flatmates!

7. It was impressive to hear that completed your first academic presentation on "MRI based subject-specific definition of muscle properties to improve the accuracy of human gait" at the British Conference of Undergraduate Research 2018. How did this come about?

The one person to thank is Dr. Claudia Mazza who was my final-year supervisor. She saw the opportunity and pushed me towards it even though I had no prior experience in academic presentations. It was a topic that I was keenly interested in and the research has shown amazing potential. The experts in this field who acted as my additional supervisors - Erica Montefiori and Barbara Kalkman - provided endless support. I can’t thank them enough for helping me prepare for the conference.

8. What advice would you give to fellow undergraduate students, or anyone thinking of rejoining academia, to study MSc Computational Medicine?

I would highly recommend anyone with even a slight interest towards Biomechanics, to join the MSc programme. The course has been intense until now however, the skills and knowledge we have gained are extremely valuable in research and industry.  If anyone needs any advice or are in doubt about the programme, they should reach out to the department and lecturers for further clarification on what might be expected from this degree.

9. How does Abhinav like to unwind.....?

I can be seen around different practice studios jamming with my band couple of times a week.

10. And does Abhinav get to unwind ;) ?

Honestly, it does get difficult at points, especially during exam season. However, I make sure to reserve some time every night to make a cup of tea, listen to some classical music and read a good book.

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