Navigating Career Transitions

A former UHN trainee shares her journey from Kinesiologist to Clinical Evaluator.

By: Kevin Robb, ORT Science Writer 
            While working as a kinesiologist in a cardiac rehabilitation program at Women’s College Hospital in 2011, Dr. Anusha Ratneswaran observed that many of her patients suffered from joint pain. She listened as her patients expressed that their joint pain was a major barrier to their full participation in the rehab program, and it inspired her to pursue research to better understand the causes of this pain. She went on to complete a PhD at Western University where Dr. Ratneswaran applied her clinical interest in musculoskeletal health to the study of the complex molecular mechanisms underlying osteoarthritis.

            Dr. Ratneswaran’s passion for arthritis research drove her to pursue a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at UHN’s Schroeder Arthritis Institute which she completed earlier this year. Dr. Ratneswaran calls UHN, “an epicentre of cutting-edge research and medical innovation in Canada.” At the Schroeder Arthritis Institute, home to advanced sequencing technologies and one of the largest arthritis tissue biobanks in the world, Dr. Ratneswaran leveraged the power of transcriptomics to maximize insights into arthritic tissues. Under the guidance of highly supportive mentors—Dr. Mohit Kapoor and Dr. Heather Baltzer—Dr. Ratneswaran investigated genetic signatures to characterize different phenotypes of knee osteoarthritis, and the utility of cytokines as biomarkers in hand osteoarthritis. The overarching goals of Dr. Ratneswaran’s research projects were to better understand the disease mechanisms and to identify prognostic markers that would allow for early detection and intervention, as well as future precision medicine-based treatments.

            Outside the lab, Dr. Ratneswaran was an active member of the UHN Trainee Leadership Committee and of the newly minted UHN Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Accessibility (IDEA) Committee. She was also the Chair of the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) Young Investigator Committee where she orchestrated professional development and networking events to engage an international community of osteoarthritis researchers. During her time at UHN, Dr. Ratneswaran was awarded postdoctoral fellowships from CIHR and the Krembil Research Institute in recognition of her outstanding research potential and past achievements.

            In January 2021, Dr. Ratneswaran accepted a position at Health Canada as a Clinical Evaluator in the Biologic and Radiopharmaceutical Drugs Directorate where she reviews drug submissions and clinical trial applications in the areas of endocrinology and autoimmunity. Dr. Ratneswaran’s responsibilities include analyzing drug safety, efficacy and risk-benefit profiles. Based on her analyses, she develops recommendations, reports and presentations for a variety of stakeholders ranging from drug developers to members of the public. “I get to apply the skills I have learned in research such as critical analysis and synthesizing complex information…but I also communicate it at a high level and convey it to decision makers,” says Dr. Ratneswaran.

            When asked for her advice to current UHN trainees, Dr. Ratneswaran stressed the importance of trusting instincts and taking time to self-reflect on future goals throughout one’s research training. While it is important to be focused on research, Dr. Ratneswaran highlighted the value of extracurriculars in helping to build a diverse skill set that can also re-shape one’s perspectives in their research training.
Interested in contributing to an alumni spotlight? Email for more information.
Copyright © 2021 Office of Research Trainees, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp