Dr Farasat Kazmi
Farasat progressed to the MSc in Nanotechnology for Medicine and Health Care in order to further his knowledge and research in nanomedicine.
"Having completed my medical degree at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, I pursued a career in neurosurgery in Singapore. During my training, I became interested in translational research to further my knowledge so I enrolled on the Postgraduate Certificate in Nanotechnology. I found the course to be extremely helpful as it provided me with all the relevant information required to understand the basic principles of nanotechnology. Additionally, the course structure enabled me to balance both my work and academic commitments as it was directed towards working professionals with weekly online tutorials and module based assignments.
I was fascinated by gamma knife; a stereotactic radiosurgery modality used to target and kill brain tumours. However, radiotherapy dose to the tumour is generally limited by the radiation tolerance of surrounding healthy tissue so there is a serious need for radiosensitizers to effectively improve the therapeutic ratio. In order to further my research in radiosensitizers I decided to apply for the MSc in Nanotechnology for Medicine and Health Care. The course requires a dissertation on a topic of your choice which I felt made it even more appealing as I was interested in investigating the radiosensitization effects of gold nanoparticles with U87 glioblastoma cell line using a clinical linear accelerator.
For me, the most challenging aspect of this course was the dissertation as it required me to spend a significant amount of time in the lab whilst working full time. I knew it was not feasible to do my dissertation during neurosurgery, particularly due to the long hours I had to commit to clinical work, therefore during my MSc I opted to change my clinical rotation to radiation oncology. This enabled me to spend sufficient time in the lab and also facilitated my understanding of the principles of radiobiology. Despite the steep learning curve, especially with regards to the dissertation, the guidance provided by my supervisors was invaluable. They helped me refine and develop my experiments at every stage of the study.
Completing my dissertation and seeing the results for my study was immensely rewarding and exciting. The study had demonstrated about 36% enhancement of radiation induced tumour cell death with gold nanoparticles and radiotherapy compared to radiotherapy alone. In addition I thoroughly enjoyed attending lectures for one week every term at the University of Oxford. This gave me the opportunity to interact directly with my colleagues and professors, further enhancing my learning. I also got the chance to experience this magnificent city of ‘dreaming spires’ with its vibrant culture and stunning architecture.
My abstract recently got accepted and presented at the prestigious 2018 American Society of Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Annual Meeting at San Antonio, a further testament to the quality of scientific rigor the course imparts to its students. Currently, I am finalizing the manuscript of my dissertation for publication and I plan to further characterize the mechanism of radiosensitization for metal oxide nanoparticles.
I would highly encourage anyone interested in nanomedicine to consider applying for this course. There is no doubt the course is challenging but it achieves its goal by providing its students with a very strong foundation and skill sets for understanding the potential roles of nanotechnology applications in screening, diagnostics and therapeutics."