Profile – Vyshnavy Balendra, Saint James School of Medicine

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Vyshnavy Balendra


Vyshnavy Balendra

Job title:

MD Candidate

Place of work / study:

Saint James School of Medicine

Area of Research:

Oxidative stress/ free radicals, antioxidants, nutrition/diet , gut-brain axis

How is your work funded?


Tell us a little about yourself:

Originally from Toronto, Canada, I have completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto with a Specialist in Human Biology. Currently, I am pursuing my medical degree in Chicago USA. My interest in dementia science has resulted in scientific publications and book chapters, relating to cognitive aging and nutritional approaches in delaying the progression of AD. I have also presented my findings at international conferences such as Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2021 and 2022, AAIC NeuroNext 2022, as well as The Brain Conference 2021 and was selected to deliver a short presentation at the Mild Cognitive Impairment Symposium 2021. This year I was the Student Spotlight Award Recipient with the Alzheimer’s Association : Nutrition, Metabolism Dementia Chapter. Within the Alzheimer’s Association itself, I have been elected consecutively to serve my second term as the student representative with the Alzheimer’s Nutrition Metabolism Interest Group as well as the Clinical Trials where I’ve organized webinars and workshops to bring forth the work of international dementia researchers to the forefront.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself:

I am a lyrics enthusiast! You name the song and I will be able to recite the lyrics within seconds. Must be 90s pop and boybands, though 🙂 Not the most skilled singer, unfortunately.

Why did you choose to work in dementia?

My clinical training as a medical student has shown me, first-hand, the toll that Alzheimer’s disease has on its patients. This experience has paved the road to my keen interest in studying metabolic mechanisms helpful in the prevention of dementia. My motivation to pursue this work also stemmed from my volunteer experience at nursing homes as a teenager, as well as my first – hand experiences with loved ones.

What single piece of advice would you give to an early career researcher?

Take that first step towards making connections! Embarking upon research can be overwhelming, but there are may senior researchers who are more than happy to guide, mentor, and provide academic advice. Feeling alone initially, is part of the process, but remember everyone started where you are right now- uncertain, confused, overwhelmed. It is a feeling of discomfort but there are many individuals in the field who are willing to help.

What book are you reading right now? Would you recommend it?

Think Again,’ by Adam Grants. I would highly recommend this book! It discuses the value of rethinking in our personal lives, our interpersonal interactions, and our collective actions. The books emphasizes the value of thinking like a scientist and re-examining what we know as a pathway and expanding our minds through question and curiosity.

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