A Personal Touch of Rahajeng Tunjungputri

Rahadeng Tungjungputri

Please learn more about colleagues in our "Personal Touch" series setting employees in the spotlight. A light-hearted manner to learn about the colleagues you know and those you don't!.

This week: Rahajeng Tunjungputri






1. Name & Nationality
Rahajeng Tunjungputri, everyone just calls me Ajeng. I'm from Semarang, Indonesia.

2. When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?
A doctor whose work specifically involved inserting needles into people. My father is a medical doctor who also practices acupuncture, and I therefore got that idea as a 3 year old. I had also always wanted to be a rockstar, but you can't have everything in life I suppose! 

3. What was your previous academic training, where did you study?
I am a medical doctor and completed my training at the Diponegoro University, Semarang, Indonesia in 2009. Afterwards I work shortly in a health center in a remote island off Sumatra that doesn't even exist on the map! I briefly took time off in my studies for a training organized by UNESCO on intercultural learning in Paris and Naples in 2005. It gave me a big impression on how impossible international work is without understanding and respecting the differences in cultures and context of different countries. In 2006, as a student I was selected for a scholarship to join two block courses and one month of clinical rotation in infectious diseases in Radboudumc which attracted me to the field. Afterwards, it was clear that I'd like to do clinical research work on infectious diseases in a collaborative and international setting.

4. What is your current function and what would you like to achieve?
I am a PhD student at the department of Internal Medicine of Radboudumc, and our group focuses on infectious diseases and international health. I am also a faculty staff at the Faculty of Medicine Diponegoro University in Semarang, Indonesia. My research is on the function of platelets in host defense and infectious diseases. Infections may alter the platelet function and this also has consequences in increasing the risk for thrombosis and cardiovascular diseases during infections. I combine in vitro and clinical studies, and look at infections often seen in referral hospitals like gram positive/negative bacteremia, as well as in a neglected disease such as leptospirosis. Ultimately, my goal is to become a clinician researcher of infectious diseases; and establish a collaborative research between Indonesia and the Netherlands as well as other countries through which young researchers have the environment and opportunity to develop themselves and research in Indonesia.

5. The RIMLS motto is 'to understand molecular mechanisms of disease'. What does this mean for you? 
When you work in a practical field like clinical medicine, especially in a large developing country with 250 million citizens like Indonesia, molecular mechanism is an afterthought. For me, it took some time to realize that all the advancement in diagnosis and treatment of patients is only made possible by research on both clinical aspects and molecular mechanisms. Each molecular pathway with their arrows is build by many researchers with years of work behind them. So for me, research in molecular mechanisms must be derived from a larger context, that is to deliver better healthcare, and especially to reach those in developing countries!

6. What is the biggest motivation in your work?
Indonesia. My PhD is mainly funded by the Indonesian ministry of education, and the "difficult work" is mainly in Indonesia, not just because of the often limited facilities but also how the health system works. Furthermore, the challenges in Indonesia can sometimes be difficult for people here to understand, such as the difference in communication style and how patients don't even show up for follow up because they're feeling better or cannot afford to come back. I believe that international (especially that involving countries in different continents) research works at its best when there is an understanding of the context and how communication in different cultures works.

7. What is your dream for the future?
That Indonesia has the capacity to initiate and advance research especially in the field of tropical infectious disease.

8. Fun-facts. State an interesting/obscure fact about yourself together with two that are false? Correct answer will be revealed to readers in the subsequent edition.
A: I love everything about the outdoors and nature and think that the quieter the town I live in the better it is.
B: I can juggle three bowls in the air with my two hands, while singing a Lady Gaga song.
C: I'm an amateur singer/songwriter and my music is on http://soundcloud.com/ajengmd



Correct answer of Duby Ballak : B

State an interesting/obscure fact about yourself together with two that are false?
A: I dye my hair, therefore my hair is less red than my twin-brother's hair.
B: My name means "bear".
C: My name means "beer".


<< back to overview news items