One must appreciate the fact that during those days, there were no proper facilities to do research.In 1972, when we started our first private diabetes hospital in India (the M. Hospital for Diabetes at Royapuram in North Chennai), we did not even have a proper laboratory.
I am a great believer in serendipity and I am convinced that nothing in life happens just by chance, but that there is a divine will, which directs everything.
Hence, to cut a long story short, I decided to take-up medicine as my career.
I often hear from my colleagues that they are scared to collaborate with someone in research as they feel that they will be “cheated” out of the glory due to them, or even worse, that their data will be stolen!
My experience has taught me otherwise and has, in fact, convinced me about the need for collaboration with multiple stakeholders for conducting successful research and certainly to take it to the next level, as I shall explain in this article.
Indeed, we did not even have a library or access to journals.
If I needed to get copies of a large number of articles, I would take a flight to Delhi, go to the National Medical Library there, search for all the articles I wanted, pay for them in advance and the library would then send me the photocopies of the articles, which could take up to a month to reach Chennai.This article demonstrates how if one starts early, develops sustained interest in a particular field and most importantly, is willing to collaborate, high quality research can be done even in developing countries like India. Till today, I am not sure what prompted him to set up a diabetes clinic or choose Diabetology as a speciality at that time, when diabetes as a disorder was virtually unknown in India.He continued working at the Stanley Medical College and Hospital but had to leave the government setup in 1970, well before his scheduled retirement age.All we had was a dilapidated car shed with one colorimeter and a part-time technician and the only tests we could do were blood sugar and urine sugar estimations.However, we gradually built-up our laboratory with the help of a retired Professor of Biochemistry from JIPMER, Puducherry.The other person who influenced me greatly was my teacher Prof.Lalitha Kameswaran, Professor of Pharmacology at Madras Medical College (MMC) who later became the first Vice-Chancellor of the Tamil Nadu Dr. She encouraged us to use the facilities in the Pharmacology Department of MMC during our summer holidays to carry out our research.Perspect Clin Res [serial online] 2018 [cited 2019 Sep 7];3-22. 2018/9/3/113/236485It is often believed that it is difficult to do medical research outside of the university set up or academia.This is particularly true in developing countries like India where only a negligible number of doctors do serious research. Viswanathan is often referred to as the “Father of Diabetology in India” as he set up the first Diabetes Clinic in India at the Government Stanley Medical College and Hospital at Chennai in 1948.We then treated the dogs with a sulfonylurea and biguanide and compared the effect with the use of either drug alone.We showed a synergistic effect if both drugs were used, leading to a reduction of the dose of the individual drugs.