Admissions Blog

Anna Uehara (PhD Student)

Student Spotlight

Fort San Cristobal in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Tell us about your path to Duke-NUS.

I graduated with a B.Sc in Neuroscience with Honors and a B.A. in Music, concentrating on flute performance from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, USA. During my undergraduate years, I was a member of Professor Kathleen Page’s lab where I studied the effects of altered melatonin levels on the expression of genes involved in the circadian rhythm. After Bucknell, I started my Masters in Global Health at Duke University, North Carolina, USA. For my thesis project, I went to Sri Lanka and spent some time here at Duke-NUS studying Sri Lanka’s dengue epidemics with Duane Gubler and Christopher Woods. After graduating from Duke, I came to Duke-NUS to enroll in the PhD program focusing on emerging infectious diseases. I am now a member of Wang Linfa and October Sessions’ laboratories focusing on pathogen detection from sequencing and serological platforms.

What are some of your interests and hobbies?

Outside of science, my passion is music. I enjoy freelancing on piano and flute or having jam sessions with friends. I also have a strong case of wanderlust and enjoy traveling around the SE Asia region when time allows.

If you ever had a doubt about what the word “commitment” means, you should try to ask one of the MD/PhD students – that is of course if you could find them: are they in the laboratory, the vivarium, the Academia, the wards, or the classroom…?

After 2 years of medical school and almost 4 years of full-time graduate studies I now find myself writing about the biggest commitment I have ever made in life. If I could illustrate this concept by calling the past six years a marriage, then it has been quite a fruitful one, resulting in not only scientific discoveries in the field of molecular neuroscience but also in fostering a beautiful collaboration between scientists at Duke-NUS Neurosciences & Behavioural Disorders Signature Research Program and clinicians at the Singapore General Hospital and Bright Vision Hospital.

As a Duke-NUS MD student I have been guided by some of the best faculty on how to be a good doctor and now as a PhD student I have been very fortunate to be taken under the wing of an excellent mentor, Dr. Antonius Van Dongen, who has shown me what it truly means to be a scientist. And I am not special: ask any of the other of our ever-growing list of MD/PhDs what they do for a living and you will most likely get the same answer.