A vision to improve the lives of everyone with Duchenne 

My name is Savant Thakur, I live in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia and I was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) when I was 4 years old. Although I lost my ability to walk at the age of 10 and have progressively lost most of my upper limb strength, I have never let this come in the way of achieving my goals in life. In fact, my medical condition has been a great motivation. Since childhood I have been fascinated by the molecular processes that go wrong in DMD and always harboured an ambition to find a cure for DMD by correcting these defects. This desire was reinforced further during my frequent trips to the Royal Children’s Hospital (here in Melbourne) as a young boy, where I experienced first-hand the wonderful work done by world-leading medical specialists, allied health clinicians and medical researchers.

Over the years I have become more and more determined to reach my goal and this one-eyed determination has given me the courage to fight through the adversities and medical complications to excel academically at school and university. In 2013, I graduated from The University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Biomedicine degree and subsequently completed my honours degree last year (2014) with exceptional grades. Currently I am in the first year of my Ph. D, which I am undertaking at the Basic and Clinical Myology Laboratory, headed by Prof Gordon Lynch (a world renowned muscle expert) at the Department of Physiology, The University of Melbourne. I can proudly say that I am living my dream as a biomedical researcher, performing research to discover novel treatments for muscle wasting disorders that will improve the quality of life for individuals affected by DMD and other related conditions.

Outside the professional medical research sphere, I have a strong passion for promoting awareness of DMD research in the general public, across media circles and funding bodies. My other interests include watching sports – Australian rules football (I am an avid Western Bulldogs supporter) cricket and soccer, viewing science and war documentaries, using social media to comment on scientific issues, reading about latest scientific discoveries and dining out.

My daily routine involves leaving the house at around 10am for university in a Maxi Taxi; a busy day at the lab setting up and conducting experiments alongside my hand-on support Ms Nicki Cranna (research assistant) and spending the remaining time reading journal articles to keep myself up to date with the medical literature; once back at home I jump into bed for a powernap and then study late into the night.

My message for others is:

Strive towards your goals, just push on and never give up. Anyone who has a dream and wants to achieve something can and the disability should be no barrier.