Resident spotlight: Dr. Ram Anantha

What program are you a resident of and what year of residency are you in?
I am a General Surgery resident in the Division of General Surgery, Department of Surgery at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. I am in my fourth year of residency, and I am currently enrolled in the Clinical-Investigator Program (CIP), doing a graduate degree in Microbiology and Immunology.

The CIP is a Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada accredited program for senior residents that provides a research-rich training environment and provides the opportunity to complete a graduate degree accompanied with specialized research training.

Where were you born and raised?
I was born in a small town in southern India and immigrated to Ottawa, Ontario when I was 12 years old. I’ve been in Canada ever since.

What degree(s) do you have, and from what university(ies)?
I have a BSc (Honours) in Biopharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Ottawa. I also have my MD from the University of Ottawa. I am pursuing a graduate degree (MSc) in Microbiology and Immunology this year from the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry as part of the CIP.

What special interests or hobbies do you have?
I play the guitar and the viola, and I love to cook (and eat). I’ve also recently started collecting musical instruments, but it’s hard to play them all, and keep them away from my son.

Why did you choose to pursue your residency at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry?
Schulich Medicine & Dentistry was my top choice for pursuing residency training because of the rich learning experience, strong mentorship, and high-volume operating experience.

We also have a very collegial group of residents, and supportive consultants and staff. London is also a  nice town to live in for my wife and myself.

What inspires you in your work?
During my experiences in residency, I was struck by the paucity of knowledge about the molecular processes and pathophysiology that underlie many diseases.

While the emphasis of my training was on the clinical aspects of surgery (learning how to diagnose and treat medical conditions, learning how to operate, and learning how to take care of patients on a daily basis), I felt that understanding a disease at a more fundamental level would not only help me appreciate it more, but also provide me with insight into developing more comprehensive, more successful therapies for it.

This desire inspired me to enrol in the CIP and pursue graduate research training that will hopefully help me to be a better surgeon.

What has been your greatest experience to date in your residency?
Doing research that has a direct impact on patient outcomes, and working towards developing new treatments in sepsis (a life-threatening infection that affects thousands of Canadians every year) has been incredibly rewarding and exciting for me professionally.

Personally, watching my son grow and learn something new every day has also been incredibly rewarding and enriching.

What do you do when you aren’t working?
I hang out with my wife and my fifteen-month old son, trying to spend as much time as I can with them.