Dr. Alagu Vennila, BDS from Rajas Dental College, Kavalkinaru, Tamil Nadu, India, MDS from CSI College of Dental Sciences and Research, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
Dr. Alagu Vennila, BDS from Rajas Dental College, Kavalkinaru, Tamil Nadu, India, MDS from CSI College of Dental Sciences and Research, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India

From Biopsies to Public Health Projects: Dr. Alagu Vennila's Journey

Explore Dr. Alagu Vennila's transition from an oral pathologist to a research scientist in ICMR, unraveling opportunities for dentists in public health

Embark on a captivating journey with Dr. Alagu Vennila, as she shares her remarkable transition from oral pathology to research at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). With a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) from Rajas Dental College and a Master of Dental Surgery (MDS) from CSI College of Dental Sciences and Research, Dr. Alagu brings a wealth of expertise to her role as a Project Research Scientist-II (Medical) at the Model Rural Health Research Unit under the ICMR - National Institute of Epidemiology (NIE) in Kallur, Tirunelveli.

Joining her in this conversation is Dr. Nirainila Joseph from MedBound Times. In this edition of "Docscopy," Dr. Alagu shares valuable insights on the opportunities for dentists in research, the responsibilities of the job, and her future goals.

Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: Could you introduce yourself and share with our audience a little about your professional background? 

A

Dr. Alagu Vennila: I hold a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) from Rajas Dental College in Tirunelveli, affiliated with The Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University in Chennai, India. Following my undergraduate studies, I pursued a Master of Dental Surgery (MDS) at CSI College of Dental Sciences and Research in Madurai, also affiliated with The Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University. Currently, I am working as a Project Research Scientist-II (Medical) at the Model Rural Health Research Unit under the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) - National Institute of Epidemiology (NIE) in Kallur, Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, India.

Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: In India, many dentists wish to continue in direct patient care, but what motivated you to shift from clinical oral pathology to a research-focused role at ICMR?

A

Dr. Alagu Vennila: As my postgraduation was based on research, I had an interest in research.

Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: How has your background in oral pathology complemented your research endeavors at the ICMR, especially considering your passion for research?

A

Dr. Alagu Vennila: My experience as an oral pathologist made me focus on studying everything very deeply and increased my concentration. Writing research papers during my postgraduation also helped me.

Dr. Alagu Vennila was always interested in research since her postgraduation was based on research. (Representational image: Unsplash)
Dr. Alagu Vennila was always interested in research since her postgraduation was based on research. (Representational image: Unsplash)
Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: Your meticulous approach as an oral pathologist must have been invaluable and has clearly helped you transition smoothly into your research role. Can you explain the application process/entrance exam for securing a research position at ICMR? What resources or platforms would you recommend for candidates to stay updated on job openings and application deadlines at ICMR?

A

Dr. Alagu Vennila: We should attend an interview which will be mostly a walk-in interview. A postgraduate degree in public health would be very helpful and publications in good recognized journals with high impact factor. In the official ICMR page, there is a division called "Careers" where they post all the job openings.

Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: That was insightful. Now, how important is previous research experience or publications in the application process for ICMR?

A

Dr. Alagu Vennila: Publications play a major role in the selection process and if you have an experience in working under a research project it would be more helpful.

Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: You mentioned the general interview process at ICMR earlier. Can you tell us about your interview experience in ICMR? How did you prepare for the interview?

A

Dr. Alagu Vennila: I have been rejected in many previous interviews. For my successful interview, I studied about the research project for which I am going to attend the interview and I was confident in giving the answers to them.

For the walk-in interview, Dr. Alagu Vennila meticulously prepared by studying the research project she was interviewing for, ensuring confidence in her responses. (Representational image: Unsplash)
For the walk-in interview, Dr. Alagu Vennila meticulously prepared by studying the research project she was interviewing for, ensuring confidence in her responses. (Representational image: Unsplash)
Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: As someone who has successfully transitioned from the interview stage to becoming a researcher, can you describe the work culture and environment at ICMR? What should new researchers expect when they join?

A

Dr. Alagu Vennila: You have to supervise everything under your project and maintain all the records properly and ensure whether everything is under your vision and everyone working under you is doing their activities properly.

Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: In your experience, what are some of the biggest challenges you face in your research?

A

Dr. Alagu Vennila: Till now I haven't faced anything like that.

Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: Your smooth journey in research so far is commendable. Moving forward, does ICMR collaborate with other institutions, both within India and internationally?

A

Dr. Alagu Vennila: ICMR collaborates with the government medical colleges in India.

Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: What impact do you hope your research will have on public health and clinical practices in India?

A

Dr. Alagu Vennila: I hope it will provide good health care and intervention in the evolving diseases.

Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: From your answer, your dedication to improving public health outcomes is evident. What are your future research goals and aspirations within ICMR?

A

Dr. Alagu Vennila: To work under various projects and I will go with the flow.

Dr. Alagu Vennila hopes her research will provide good health care and intervention in the evolving diseases. (Representational image: Wikimedia Commons)
Dr. Alagu Vennila hopes her research will provide good health care and intervention in the evolving diseases. (Representational image: Wikimedia Commons)
Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: Do you think your research experience at the ICMR will benefit you if you ever decide to return to clinical practice?

A

Dr. Alagu Vennila: I don't think my research experience will be helpful for the clinical practice.

Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: Thank you for sharing your valuable experiences. Your insights will not only help dentists explore research options alongside clinical practice but also assist individuals interested in research to understand the existing opportunities available. What final advice or message would you like to share with aspiring researchers looking to make a significant impact in the field of medical research through a career at ICMR?

A

Dr. Alagu Vennila: Focus on taking postgraduation related to public health like an MPH degree and have more publications.

MedBound Times expresses sincere gratitude to Dr. Alagu Vennila for sharing her valuable insights on our platform.

Dr. Alagu Vennila, BDS from Rajas Dental College, Kavalkinaru, Tamil Nadu, India, MDS from CSI College of Dental Sciences and Research, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
DentiSight - Dr. Alagu Vennila A
logo
Medbound
www.medboundtimes.com