In the Year of Celebrating SG Women, we present stories which showcase and celebrate women’s multi-faceted contributions and progress at SNEC and SERI.
Join us to honour and acknowledge our team of amazing women who have made impact in the field of Ophthalmology, inspiring those around them with their brand of ethos in life.
Dr Natalia PorporatoClinical Research Fellow, Glaucoma Research Group, SERI
Why did you choose to pursue a clinician scientist career in Ophthalmology?The short answer: my curiosity. I was hooked on Ophthalmology because of all gadgets, devices and images of the eye that my father — also an ophthalmologist — used to show me. I was struck by the interaction between technology and medicine that this field offers. I had so many questions during my residency! I wanted to figure out the answers through research, and dive deeply into what was next. For me, this really came together at SNEC/SERI, where I can be at the forefront of research, but remain anchored to patients. I’m incredibly grateful for that.
How has family support helped you get to where you are in SNEC/SERI?It goes without saying that the support of my family has been fundamental — from encouraging my curiosity as a child to pursuing my growth and goals as an adult, even when it took me to the other side of the world. I left Argentina right after my residency to join this amazing glaucoma team and stayed to pursue my PhD in Clinical Science. Throughout all this, not once has my family made me doubt my decisions.
What are your biggest achievements to date?I think about my achievements within these areas which I am passionate about: technology/medicine, teaching others, collaboration and creating impact. Firstly, getting published in top scientific journals has been fantastic, the most recent of which talked about using AI to automatically detect angle closure glaucoma. Another achievement was writing some chapters for a Glaucoma textbook in Spanish, and being able to pass on knowledge and create study material for residents and fellows in my native language. Just as important is finding incredibly good mentors, and being part of some national and international collaborations. Working with some household names in Ophthalmology and learning from them has been rewarding. The final achievement I’d like to share concerns my work as a physician. We have rather short consultation times, so when patients say “thank you” because the care I’ve given has made a difference to them, that is an achievement for me as much now as when I graduated. Aside from these, winning the Singapore Hockey National Women’s League 2 in 2019 ranks up there, too!
In five to 10 years, what do you hope to have accomplished in terms of your work?It may sound clichéd, but I genuinely would like to see tangible impact from my work. It’s not so much the number of publications or citations, but really about seeing that our research today has led to strong recommendations that guide clinical practice, or that the technology we are developing has improved the population’s access to eye health.
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