Dr Azeem Alam BEM (BSc Medical Sciences with Surgery and Anaesthesia 2015), is a Clinical Teaching Fellow at Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, and Honorary Clinical Research Fellow within the Surgery and Cancer Department at Imperial.

In the Queen’s New Year Honours 2021, Dr Alam was awarded a British Empire Medal for his services to medical education during COVID-19. Dr Alam is co-founder of medical education platform, BiteMedicine.

We caught up with Dr Alam to hear more about his Imperial journey and career so far...

Can you tell us about your studies at Imperial?

My degree focused on the fundamentals underpinning surgery and anaesthesia. I had the opportunity to work with fantastic colleagues and seniors to develop practical skills and undertake interesting projects – such as creating a novel external fixation device for orthopaedic surgery. My experiences at Imperial not only crystallised my love for scientific research, but also my desire to pursue medical entrepreneurship and business endeavours.    

Who did you find inspiring at Imperial and why?

During my degree, I was supervised by Professor Daqing Ma and Dr Hailin Zhao in the Department of Surgery and Cancer. I can wholeheartedly say that without Professor Ma and Dr Zhao, my career would not be where it is today. Despite only being placed in the department for four months, their mentorship and friendship is still present in my life, over six years later.

Thanks to the input of Professor Ma and Dr Zhao, I published over 25 publications and achieved coveted positions as an academic foundation doctor and academic clinical fellow (ACF) in surgery. I am indebted to both for their inspiration, guidance, and mentorship over the years.

What is your fondest memory of your time here? 

My fondest memory is embarking on my research project in Surgery and Cancer, getting to know the team, and forging long-lasting relationships - mainly facilitated by all of the fantastic local restaurants and pubs!

What is your favourite place at Imperial and why?

I will always have fond memories of studying in the South Kensington Library until late at night and stepping outside to walk the quiet and beautiful streets leading towards Hyde Park. There was something magical about the experience! 

Tell us a bit about the work you’re doing now.

I am currently working as a Clinical Teaching Fellow at Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust. However, as always, all roads have led me back to Imperial. I am currently an Honorary Clinical Research Fellow within the Surgery and Cancer Department at Imperial, and I am soon embarking on an Academic Clinical Fellowship (ACF) in General Surgery at Imperial (from 2021) as part of my run-through clinical surgical training.

How has what you learnt at Imperial helped you in your career so far?

My experiences of forging long-lasting relationships with my colleagues, undertaking research and getting involved in entrepreneurship all stemmed from my time at Imperial. Due to the entrepreneurial endeavours that my course encouraged me to pursue, I was inspired to found BiteMedicine, a medical education platform, which has taught over 20,000 students during COVID-19. It is for BiteMedicine that I was included in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list 2021 and received the British Empire Medal.

I can wholeheartedly say that the special learning experiences and relationships forged during my time at Imperial have had a deep and long-lasting impact on my professional and personal life.

What would be your advice for current students?

Take advantage of all the opportunities given to you, show initiative, and forge relationships with your peers and seniors. Those relationships are invaluable.

What makes you proud to be an Imperial alumnus?

The kindness, generosity, mentorship, and guidance that I received from both my colleagues and friends at Imperial continues to mould my professional and personal life, more than six years on.

Do you have a favourite quote or saying?

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about”. – Rumi