At 25 most young people are holders of an undergraduate degree, thinking about pursuing, or reading for a Masters Degree. For Matthew Amoni, a PhD candidate, the story is out of a fantasy book.

Amoni completed his MBChB, BSc (Med) (Hon) and Master’s in Cardio Physiology in only seven years, thanks to an intercalated degree programme that grooms clinician-scholars.

The University of Cape Town (UCT) graduate was raised in a missionary family, a background which exposed him to ill and vulnerable people from less fortunate communities.

Read: Meet Imelme Umana: First Black Woman President Of the Harvard Law Review

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.”

Matthew Amoni in the lab where he was introduced to the world of proteomics, histology and stem cells, biochemistry and physiology. Photo/UCT

This background and his keen interest in Science left him torn, however a biology teacher convinced him that he could pursue both his passions at once. At just 25, Amoni is a holder of a BSc (Med) (Hons), a Master’s degree in Cardiac Physiology, and an MBChB all completed in seven years.

The young man will be leaving soon for Belgium to begin his PhD studies in the laboratory of renowned cardiologist Professor Karin Sipido, editor-in-chief of the Cardiovascular Research Journal. His PhD studies in Belgium will focus on understanding the microscopic electrical circuitry of the heart, with a hope to improve understanding of conditions such as arrhythmias, which account for almost half of all heart-failure deaths. The technology to study cardiac cellular electrophysiology does not exist in South Africa.

Read: UCT’s H3D, identifies second compound, which could treat and prevent malaria

The Clinical Scholars Programme at UCT’s Faculty of Health Sciences is such that MBChB students are fast tracked into clinical research, squeeze in an honours degree during their medical studies and then start PhD research degrees. The fast-track is done to address South Africa’s critical shortage of academic clinicians, and to revitalize clinical research. Amoni however, completed his Master’s degree in Cardiac Physiology, in tandem with the last two years of MBChB, so that he could go straight for a PhD.

We applaud the young man for pursuing his dreams, excellently! Aluta continua.