CAPE TOWN – When talking about academic excellence, one would be hard-pressed to find many 25 year old’s who are PhD candidates; but Matthew Amoni isn’t your average 25 year old.

Matthew, who is a PhD candidate, is also a holder of a BSc (Med) (Hons), a Master’s degree in Cardiac Physiology, and an MBChB. He has completed all of this in just seven years! His remarkable feat is thanks to an intercalated degree programme that grooms clinician scholars.

According to the UCT website, Amoni grew up in a missionary family where he was exposed to the sick and vulnerable in rural communities. Matthew says he always knew he wanted to be a doctor and help people. But he also loved the thrill of inventing things and fell in love with aeronautical engineering at a science fair.

The former Pretoria Boys’ High pupil says it took a canny biology teacher to persuade the him to pursue all his passions. Back in high school, he never imagined he’d be able to combine his paired interests in an dual degree programme that’s awarded him a BSc (Med) (Hons), a master’s degree in cardiac physiology, and an MBChB, astonishingly at the age of 25.

Speaking of this experience, Amoni reportedly says: “Being 16 or 17 and transitioning into early adulthood, you start to think about how you can impact the world, how you can impact your community.”

The scholar will soon be flying the South African flag up high in Belgium, where he’ll begin his PhD studies in the laboratory of renowned cardiologist Professor Karin Sipido, editor-in-chief of the Cardiovascular Research Journal.

The current technology used to study cardiac cellular electrophysiology doesn’t yet exist in South Africa. Amoni’s studies will centre on understanding the microscopic electrical circuitry of the heart, with the hope to improve understanding of conditions such as arrhythmias, which account for almost half of all heart-failure deaths.

Yes to African excellence! Well done, Matthew, we cannot wait see the amazing feats you’ll continue to achieve in your chosen career!



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