By Michael R. Granger
ROTTERDAM–In the presence of her proud family, daughter of the soil Cherina Fleming, now forever known as Dr. Cherina Fleming, obtained her PhD degree from the prestigious Erasmus University in the Netherlands on May 11 in the molecular medicine programme.
The daughter of well-known St. Maarteners Douglas “Dougie” Fleming and Dr. Alma Fleming-Rogers of Middle Region, Cherina defended her PhD doctoral thesis/manuscript in front of a panel of nine professors of different medical disciplines.
However, prior to that she had to first give a 15-minute presentation to explain to family, friends and colleagues who were in attendance the work she had been doing throughout her studies. Next she had 45 minutes to defend her PhD thesis entitled “From Manual Microscopy to Automated Cell Counters for First Line Screening of Body Fluids: but not without a special BF mode” in front of the panel of nine.
Cherina started the training to become a clinical chemist in Erasmus and Groene Hart Hospital in December 2014 and is scheduled to complete the programme in December 2018, after which, her family hopes, the doors should be wide open for her here in St. Maarten.
“After completion of the programme in 2018, I would love to come back St. Maarten to work in the lab. I would love to practice the knowledge obtained in the Netherlands to help push our lab forward,” she said, adding that she was extremely proud of her accomplishment and excited about what she can offer her island.
A clinical chemist is a person who uses chemistry to evaluate patient health. She may evaluate blood, study DNA, examine tissue, or study cells. The clinical chemist may be a research scientist or a developer of diagnostic products.
Clinical chemists research and develop laboratory procedures that help physicians make earlier, more precise diagnoses and tailor therapy for patients. As technology develops – in “hot” areas like molecular biology or transplant medicine, for example – clinical chemists apply their knowledge to develop practical applications of these advances. Automation is changing laboratory and hospital operations.
Cherina Fleming was born in Marigot, St. Martin, on August 13, 1983. After receiving her high school diploma from Milton Peters College on the Dutch side of the island in 2002, she relocated to the Netherlands for further education. From 2002 to 2006, she attended Hogeschool Rotterdam where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Applied Sciences.
During the third and fourth year of the Bachelor’s programme, she did an internship at the Department of Clinical Chemistry in Erasmus Medical Centre (MC) where her admiration for Clinical Chemistry became pronounced, and this motivated her to pursue a career as a Clinical Chemist.
Her journey in becoming a clinical chemist began in 2006, when she worked in the Erasmus MC Department of Clinical Chemistry as a research technician on automated cell counters manufactured by Sysmex Corporation for counting cells in body fluids. She completed that assignment in 2007 and, in the same year, continued her education at Utrecht University where she received her Master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences in 2010.
She returned to Erasmus MC Department of Clinical Chemistry shortly afterward and continued her investigation in automated cell counters for body fluids analysis. Under the supervision of Professor Dr. J. Lindemans, Professor Dr. R. de Jonge and Dr. H. Russcher, and in collaboration with Sysmex Corporation, the groundwork of her PhD research project materialised in the studies described in her thesis.
Her very proud sibling local businessman Bertaux “Mr. Rude” Fleming could not find the proper words to describe how proud he and his entire family are of his “baby” sister. He expressed the hope that one day in the future when his sister returns to the island opportunities will abound for her in the laboratory field or top management at the hospital.
Cherina’s accomplishment has been lauded on social media by friends and supporters as the latest example of St. Maarten possessing the knowledge through its accomplished academics to be appointed in key positions in their country.
“Proud doesn’t have enough weight to express our feeling,” big brother Fleming said while thanking everyone for their support and positive motivating comments for his sister. “My mom always says, ‘Claim it in the name of Jesus.’ Dr. Cherina Fleming, my sis, we are claiming this,” he concluded.
Source: Daily Herald
Cherina Fleming receives PhD at Erasmus University