Chennai-born Vijayakumar Ragavi, 18, topped the list of 611 other students who participated
Chennai-born VijayakumarRagavi, now a Singaporean citizen, topped the list of 611 other students from secondary and tertiary institutions.
She has won this year’s A*Star Talent Search award in Singapore for her study of genetic heart disease “hypertrophic cardiomyopathy”.
She has been awarded a cash prize, a sponsored trip to an overseas conference and a trophy as well as a certificate for winning the competition.
“It is estimated to be the most genetic heart disease in the world. People with the disease often suffer from arrhythmia induced sudden cardiac death,” Ragavi said.
Arrhythmia is a group of conditions where the heartbeat is irregular, too slow or too fast.
At the talent search, Ragavi’s research focused on stem-cell technology, which allows for the detection of genetic disease through blood samples, rather than the typical method of performing cardiac biopsies.
Such biopsies are extremely difficult procedures which entail taking a small piece of the heart so that it can be checked for genetic disease in the laboratory.
Ragavi designed a humanised hypertrophic cardiomyopathy model that recapitulates the disease phenotype. The subsequent findings set the foundation for gaining insights into disease pathology and therapeutic intervention.
“I really didn’t expect to win. I was quite surprised since it was very unexpected, but I was happy that my parents were so proud of me,” Ragavi said.
She will be pursuing a degree in biomedical science at an overseas university next year.
© 2016 Sulabh Swachh Bharat. All Right Reserved