Interview with an MD/PhD Candidate: Introducing Rohit Singla

We chat with third-year MD/PhD Candidate, Rohit Singla.

Tell us a little bit about your research project.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) refers to structural or functional abnormalities of the kidney lasting greater than 3 months. With rates of diabetes and hypertension on the rise, combined with an aging population, CKD currently impacts approximately 1 in 10 Canadians. Of those, many will require dialysis or a kidney transplant – neither of which are cures. In my PhD, I am exploring how early we can detect a failing kidney, how to predict it if and when a transplant is needed, and how we can quantify microstructural changes in a disease kidney.

What do you find interesting in this field of research? How did you initially get involved?

I work at the nexus of engineering and medicine. It’s by nature an undefined field of research, which means there’s room for me to expand and make it my own. Few groups around the world are looking at the same question in the same way I am. It’s also a highly collaborative field – nephrologists and urologists love the idea of improving their field, and engineers love big problems like this. I had picked my supervisors first, and their trust and belief in me allowed me the academic freedom to roam and find new avenues of research. I ended up on the kidney, but with a fresh set of eyes.

What does a typical day look like while working on your project?

Meetings, thinking, coding, thinking, writing, thinking, and some extra thinking at the end.

What advice would you give another student interested in this area of research?

Bias towards action. If you want to get involved, reach out to someone and get started. Talking to people and embarking on a new experience is the best way to learn and develop new skills. In turn, you’ll give yourself a chance to “get lucky”. That’s not specific to just my field of research, but virtually all fields.