5 Questions with Dr. Bhatt

A Conversation with Krishna Rocha-Singh, MD

For this issue, Dr. Bhatt talks with Krishna Rocha-Singh, MD, chief scientific officer for the Prairie Heart Institute of Illinois at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, Illinois.

Rocha-Singh completed medical school at the David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles, and his general cardiology fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. He spent several years performing preclinical work before committing to a career in interventional cardiology.

Throughout his distinguished career, Rocha-Singh has combined a passion for basic science with his extensive clinical experience that has helped pave the way for innovative approaches to peripheral interventions.

Who has had the greatest influence on your career?

Dr. Rocha-Singh: My father, Manohar Deosaransingh, MD, undoubtedly has had the most influence on my career.

While in Kansas, not long after immigrating, he not only worked on a farm but attended night classes at a local community college, earned a degree from the University of Kansas, subsequently applied to medical school and became a physician.

Deepak L. Bhatt

Eventually, my father returned to Trinidad, where I grew up. Later, we returned to the United States and settled in Southern California, where he studied cardiology and became involved with the Scripps Clinic, which was then very small. Then, we moved to Los Angeles and he became one of the founding members of Southern California Permanente Medical Group.

I saw how hard he worked and his dedication to his patients in the field, and that set the blueprint for my life.

Krishna Rocha-Singh

What area of research in intervention interests you most right now and why?

Dr. Rocha-Singh: I began my career in basic science, so a lot of my interest lies in taking the backbone of basic science and applying it to potentially more immediate, clinically relevant concerns.

At present, I am collaborating with my colleagues on developing an in vivo porcine model looking at the important disease process of vascular calcification and evaluating how this calcification can potentially impact, in a negative way, the effectiveness and safety of new therapies.

We’re also working on new platforms for drug elution to reduce restenosis after intervention. It is my hope that once we have a validated in vivo model looking at vascular calcification, it will positively impact both biologics and devices in medicine.

Have you ever been fortunate enough to witness or to have been part of medical history in the making?

Dr. Rocha-Singh: While completing my general cardiology fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco, I was fortunate enough to be at the epicenter of the development of coronary technology that has transformed and, at the time, defined the new field of interventional cardiology.

During that period, my mentors at Scripps Clinic — Paul Teirstein, MD, and Richard Schatz, MD — were working on developing the Palmaz-Schatz coronary stent. I had the opportunity to be involved in the clinical trials that helped get that important implantable coronary device approved and then also be involved with the extension of that similar platform from the coronary vasculature to the periphery.

What are your hobbies outside of practicing medicine?

Dr. Rocha-Singh: I love to travel. And, I am a traveler, not a tourist; there is a big difference. Fortunately, my career has afforded me the opportunity to travel, and one of the privileges of being able to travel is the exposure to different cultures.

Also, as a result of my love for traveling and being exposed to different cuisines, I enjoy cooking. Many times, I bring home new recipes or novel ways of preparing meals and enjoy experimenting in the kitchen.

But, usually, when I have spare time, I work on my translational models and several patents I have pertaining to my research. It’s not a traditional hobby, but I find it very relaxing.

What’s up next for you?

Dr. Rocha-Singh: I have enjoyed my journey in medicine, as it has taken me to some extraordinary places. However, practicing at a certain level does take a fair amount out of you physically and emotionally. What I am looking for is what we call in medicine an “echo career.” What will I do after I can no longer do 500 interventions and wear lead 4 to 5 hours a day, 4 days a week? You always have to plan your next chapter.

For me, that next step would be a reflection of what I have been working on for so long. As I move past the everyday practice of medicine, my dream would be to own my own company. I have several patents related to my translational models and have contacts within the medical device industry, so I hope that will become my next chapter in life. It may not work out, but either way, I look forward to my next opportunity. – by Melissa Foster

For this issue, Dr. Bhatt talks with Krishna Rocha-Singh, MD, chief scientific officer for the Prairie Heart Institute of Illinois at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, Illinois.

Rocha-Singh completed medical school at the David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles, and his general cardiology fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. He spent several years performing preclinical work before committing to a career in interventional cardiology.

Throughout his distinguished career, Rocha-Singh has combined a passion for basic science with his extensive clinical experience that has helped pave the way for innovative approaches to peripheral interventions.

Who has had the greatest influence on your career?

Dr. Rocha-Singh: My father, Manohar Deosaransingh, MD, undoubtedly has had the most influence on my career.

While in Kansas, not long after immigrating, he not only worked on a farm but attended night classes at a local community college, earned a degree from the University of Kansas, subsequently applied to medical school and became a physician.

Deepak L. Bhatt

Eventually, my father returned to Trinidad, where I grew up. Later, we returned to the United States and settled in Southern California, where he studied cardiology and became involved with the Scripps Clinic, which was then very small. Then, we moved to Los Angeles and he became one of the founding members of Southern California Permanente Medical Group.

I saw how hard he worked and his dedication to his patients in the field, and that set the blueprint for my life.

Krishna Rocha-Singh

What area of research in intervention interests you most right now and why?

Dr. Rocha-Singh: I began my career in basic science, so a lot of my interest lies in taking the backbone of basic science and applying it to potentially more immediate, clinically relevant concerns.

At present, I am collaborating with my colleagues on developing an in vivo porcine model looking at the important disease process of vascular calcification and evaluating how this calcification can potentially impact, in a negative way, the effectiveness and safety of new therapies.

We’re also working on new platforms for drug elution to reduce restenosis after intervention. It is my hope that once we have a validated in vivo model looking at vascular calcification, it will positively impact both biologics and devices in medicine.

Have you ever been fortunate enough to witness or to have been part of medical history in the making?

Dr. Rocha-Singh: While completing my general cardiology fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco, I was fortunate enough to be at the epicenter of the development of coronary technology that has transformed and, at the time, defined the new field of interventional cardiology.

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During that period, my mentors at Scripps Clinic — Paul Teirstein, MD, and Richard Schatz, MD — were working on developing the Palmaz-Schatz coronary stent. I had the opportunity to be involved in the clinical trials that helped get that important implantable coronary device approved and then also be involved with the extension of that similar platform from the coronary vasculature to the periphery.

What are your hobbies outside of practicing medicine?

Dr. Rocha-Singh: I love to travel. And, I am a traveler, not a tourist; there is a big difference. Fortunately, my career has afforded me the opportunity to travel, and one of the privileges of being able to travel is the exposure to different cultures.

Also, as a result of my love for traveling and being exposed to different cuisines, I enjoy cooking. Many times, I bring home new recipes or novel ways of preparing meals and enjoy experimenting in the kitchen.

But, usually, when I have spare time, I work on my translational models and several patents I have pertaining to my research. It’s not a traditional hobby, but I find it very relaxing.

What’s up next for you?

Dr. Rocha-Singh: I have enjoyed my journey in medicine, as it has taken me to some extraordinary places. However, practicing at a certain level does take a fair amount out of you physically and emotionally. What I am looking for is what we call in medicine an “echo career.” What will I do after I can no longer do 500 interventions and wear lead 4 to 5 hours a day, 4 days a week? You always have to plan your next chapter.

For me, that next step would be a reflection of what I have been working on for so long. As I move past the everyday practice of medicine, my dream would be to own my own company. I have several patents related to my translational models and have contacts within the medical device industry, so I hope that will become my next chapter in life. It may not work out, but either way, I look forward to my next opportunity. – by Melissa Foster