The long and winding road of lives, careers, hopes and dreams


The Ask MEDICUS column receives many questions but one question in this edition resonated particularly with me: how long is a career in medicine, asked @briana_alarcon16. In just four days’ time, on 28 May, the Class of 2022 will transform from students into empathetic and competent clinicians, making an impact in the medicine ecosystem around the world. Although their journey begins as doctors on the healthcare frontline in Singapore, the dimensions of their canvas are immeasurable.

They are future-ready, equipped with critical- and innovative-thinking as well as a thorough understanding of the human body and many diseases that may one day ail us. But above their qualifications and knowledge, they have been instilled with the Duke-NUS values, so they will remain compassionate in their interactions, courageous in their endeavours, collaborative with their peers to advance medicine and uphold the integrity of a noble profession at all times, no matter how many years they practice. 

That brings me back to the question—how long is a career in medicine. My colleague Suzanne Goh responds, and absolutely accurately for she is a clinician herself, that a career in medicine may continue for as long as one remains committed to it. The Duke-NUS community has done its part. As we re-welcome our students as alumni, I want to say this to all our alumni: Duke-NUS will always be your second home, no matter where you are and what you are doing. Now it’s up to you, dear doctors, to forge your path as future clinician-scientists, -educators, -entrepreneurs, -innovators, and so on. We wish you all the best and we remain to support you.

Some of them will, I am sure, look into ageing as it becomes an expanding, expounding global reality (I don’t want to use the word challenge here). And that would be truly impactful. Ageing is also the sub-theme of this issue and we are privileged to have Dr Mary Ann Tsao, Chairperson of the Tsao Foundation, talk about the meaningful work she has been doing in this arena.

I particularly loved that she likes to think about longevity rather than ageing. We age from the moment we come into this world, so the approach of building resilience in individuals and strengthening intergenerational relations is truly key to making all translational medical research in areas of related conditions and ailments truly impactful.

Carrying the sub-theme further, in MEDICUS – the Podcast, Nicole Lim navigates the taboo topic of death and dying with Eric Finkelstein, the executive director of the Lien Centre for Palliative Care at Duke-NUS, and Lalit Krishna, a senior consultant with the Division of Supportive and Palliative Care at the National Cancer Centre Singapore. The focus, here too, is not just on research and training to improve end-of-life care, but also on building awareness, helping provide assistance to caregivers.

Our feature on how to age well highlights that all of us in search of a silver-bullet solution that—not surprisingly—there are no secrets to ageing well. Making the most of our extra years is simply a lot of patient maintenance as we grow older. Because ageing successfully is really an inside job, not a snake-oil potion.

Let me stop right here, so you can spend some time with us delving into the many purposeful and enlightening stories in this edition. As always please let us know what you like (or not) about MEDICUS so we can truly make it a publication of choice for you. 


Anirudh Sharma

About the masthead

This issue’s masthead is a close-up of newly regenerated muscle fibres. These fibres, which form straight parallel lines when healthy, struggle to reform after a pressure ulcer or bedsore, leaving a muscle gap underneath the skin. Assistant Professor Lisa Tucker-Kellogg, whose team captured this image, found that injecting an FDA-approved iron chelation drug causes a decrease in oxidative stress. Doing so improves muscle regeneration, which may offer new hope to pressure ulcer patients, most of whom experience difficulty moving about. For this work, first author Jannah Nasir won a Young Investigator Award from the Wound Healing Society in 2022, and senior author Tucker-Kellogg received the Translational Regenerative Science Award from the Wound Health Society in 2020. 

Photo credit: Tucker-Kellogg lab

Anirudh Sharma

Nicole Lim

Writers and contributors
Anna Murphy
Chua Li Min
Dionne Seah
Jessie Chew
Lekshmy Sreekumar
Nicole Lim
Sean Firoz

Editorial Committee
Christopher Laing, Duke-NUS
Foo Suan Jong, Duke-NUS
Jenne Foo, Duke-NUS
Jenny Ang Thar Bin, SingHealth
Michael Schoenfeld, Duke University
Ovidia Lim-Rajaram, National University of Singapore
Patrick Casey, Duke-NUS
Reza Shah Bin Mohd Anwar, Duke-NUS
Sandy Cook, Duke-NUS

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