The flying, hockey playing MD(res) researcher from Australia

My story by Anthony Leong

I was born in Singapore and because my parents passed away from a very young age, I was pretty independent right from the very beginning. If there is one thing my mother taught me early in life which I attribute to where I am today, it would be the most important thing to have in the world is a good education, and that no one will help me more than myself. Typical of Chinese culture, my mother was harsh and would expect me to have at least 98% in all my exams; if not I was met with severe punishment! Of course even today I thought that was a bit extreme, but nonetheless it set the stage for me strive even harder and work towards more achievements.

After primary school I attended Christ Church Grammar School in Australia where I took up hobbies in hockey and flying. Initially I chose subjects such as math and science as I wanted to do engineering, and maths and science were my best subjects. I was also inquisitive when it came to designing new ideas and I loved problem solving.

The turning point came however sometime towards the end of my high school years, when a certain individual convinced me that engineering was mundane and I would end up working on boring pieces of equipment such as a circuit board of a washing machine, and inanimate objects such as these couldn’t talk and interact with you. Hence I chose medicine, as I love interaction with people and in addition it involves solving problems, and is intellectually challenging. As I chose to retain my Singapore citizenship, I had to postpone medical school and return to Singapore for my 2.5 years of National Service. After basic military training I spent my time at the army’s psychological care centre as a researcher helping to develop a set of scores for army recruits at a high risk for suicide, self harm and other psychiatric illnesses.

Delighted that at last national service was over, I went back to Australia to enrol in medical school at the University of Tasmania graduating with a BMedSci(Hons) and MBBS (Hons). I completed my FY1 year at The Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane, and my FY2 year, at Princess Alexandra Hospital, also in Brisbane. Subsequently I decided to join Imperial College as a researcher with the aim of completing a MD(res) at the department of Surgery and Cancer, in the field of Orthopaedics. I felt this would be a good time to let my inquisitive nature expand my research abilities. I hope to learn more about knee morphology and kinematics, with the aim of improving current surgical techniques, and influence the next generation of knee prosthetic implants.

Right now I love being here in the United Kingdom, as culturally its very similar to Australia and in some aspects even Singapore. I hope to eventually specialise here in the United Kingdom, as the environment is very conducive to academia and the support I have from my colleagues and bosses here at Imperial College is overwhelmingly good!

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