Fellow Spotlight: Vivek Durai, MD, PhD

Dr Vivek Durai
Photo credit: Cindy Chew

Vivek Durai, MD, PhD, grew up in Chicago, earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Northwestern University, then completed his medical degree and PhD in immunology at Washington University in St. Louis. During his thesis work he helped determine more about how hematopoietic stem cells differentiate into dendritic cells – the sentinel cells of the immune system – and how these cells develop the ability to detect and respond to different threats.

Dr. Durai completed internal medicine residency at UCSF. He wanted to become a cardiologist in part because of the intriguing overlap between immunology and cardiology, as well as the heart’s fascinating physiology. He decided to stay for his fellowship because of UCSF’s strong history of basic cardiology research. So far, one highlight has been his rotation in the cardiac catheterization lab. “Everyone has been extremely kind and supportive,” he said.

He looks forward to becoming a physician-scientist and hopes to eventually have his own basic science laboratory studying the inflammatory basis of atherosclerosis. “The way we try to understand how natural phenomena work is very similar to trying to figure out why a patient is having symptoms – investigating what’s going on and running experiments,” said Dr. Durai.

His hobbies include reading about history and watching movies. Dr. Durai is married to Sruti Surugucchi, MD, an Ob/Gyn at Kaiser Permanente.