Medical Research Fellow Admitted as an Orthopaedic Surgeon
AO Research Institute Davos (ARI) Fellow and Master of Medicine student at UKZN, Dr Vuyisa Mdingi, has been confirmed as a qualified orthopedic surgery specialist in his native South Africa.
He is confident that colleagues back home will also benefit from the expertise he is gaining in Davos.
Mdingi, who is currently undertaking a one-year medical research fellowship with ARI, has also been admitted to the South African College of Orthopaedic Surgeons as a Fellow. The 34-year-old earned a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) from the University of Cape Town in 2011. He completed his orthopedic residency in late 2021 at Grey’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg and is in the final stages of his Master’s in Medicine in paediatric musculoskeletal infection.
As an ARI Fellow, Mdingi joined the Infection Biology focus area led by Dr Fintan Moriarty. He is investigating how nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) interact with antibiotics in infected animal models. The aim is to better understand any synergistic or antagonistic effects that may occur and how these can benefit or hamper different treatment methods.
As part of his fellowship, Mdingi is also preparing a literature review on the same issue. ‘I developed a strong interest in research during my residency,’ he said. ‘My long-term goal is to study towards a PhD, and I consider the ARI fellowship an important stepping stone in this direction.’
Professor Geoff Richards, director of ARI and executive director of AO Research and Development, said: ‘We are extremely happy to host Vuyisa for his ARI fellowship and hope this will be the start of long-term future collaborations with him within the area of infection.’
On his return home following his ARI fellowship, Mdingi plans to return to his old employer. ‘The bulk of the work by orthopedic surgeons at Grey’s Hospital involves trauma caused, for example, by road traffic accidents or interpersonal violence,’ he explained.
In co-operation with UKZN, the hospital also has a budding research department where he hopes to contribute to studies on implant-related infections. ‘If we can enhance the overall quality of our treatment and services through research, we can reduce patient morbidity due to musculoskeletal disorders. Patients’ quality of life will also benefit greatly.’
Mdingi believes that his time at ARI will steer him towards being more research-driven as opposed to being purely service-delivery-driven as a surgeon. ‘I want to pass on that knowledge by training and mentoring young residents to help them improve their research skills,’ he said. ‘For many colleagues, their master’s thesis is as far as it will go in terms of research. Hopefully, I can make the topic more interesting and cultivate a research culture. Who knows, maybe I will even be able to inspire someone else to come to Davos for an ARI fellowship.’
Words: AO Research Institute Davos