Rishikesan Kamaleswaran, PhD, is an associate professor at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. He joined the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) in 2018 and is involved on several committees. He is a co-vice-chair of the Data, Outcomes, and Definitions Work Group of Discovery, the Critical Care Research Network. In his free time, he enjoys photography, playing music, and traveling. His professional interests include research, sepsis, and shock. Learn more about what Dr. Kamaleswarn loves about critical care and what he views as the most challenging issue facing critical care.
Why do you love being in critical care?
Having witnessed my father in the ICU for several weeks, I appreciate the extent of teamwork, motivation, and dedication the clinical and nonclinical staff bring to the field. As a computational researcher, I find the ability to learn and contribute to my clinical colleagues’ work a humbling and gratifying experience.
How did you get into critical care?
I was privileged to work with mentors during graduate school who had a passion for critical care. Through this mentored experience, I saw the gaps in knowledge and how someone with a computational background could contribute. After a few initial projects, I became deeply fascinated by the biologic and physiologic mechanisms that drive critical illness and I dedicated a bulk of my research to these areas.
What advice do you have for those starting their critical care careers?
I advise clinical and nonclinical colleagues to take a step back and contemplate the big questions that affect the management and outcomes of patients with critical illness. Seeing opportunities, they should aspire to find means by which they can contribute to the body of knowledge for the betterment of society.
What are the top advances in critical care since you started your career?
The incorporation of artificial intelligence and data science as major themes of interest within SCCM and SCCM leadership commitment to these topics.
What is your biggest professional achievement?
My biggest professional achievement was securing large National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants and disseminating that knowledge across a wide array of scientific venues.
What do you see as the most challenging issue facing critical care?
I feel the most challenging issue currently is the “knowing the unknown” problem. There is much we do not know about the pathobiology of critical illness and why some patients are more resilient than others to these insults. The ability to incorporate complexity and develop novel experiments that try to elucidate novel mechanistic alterations are major challenges but also grand opportunities.
What do you love about SCCM membership?
I love the opportunity to meet like-minded colleagues from across the world with a passion for making a difference among critically ill patients.
Connect with @Rishikesan Kamaleswaran on SCCM Connect or Twitter @rkamaleswaran!