Current Undergraduate Spinal Research Fellows


Exeter Spinal Research Scholars (2015-16)


Salil Patel is a medical student at PCMD and currently holds the position of Undergraduate Spinal Surgery Research Fellow. He is an active researcher and has won various national awards/bursaries. He is passionate about improving access to surgical care worldwide and up until recently was lead coordinator of the UK Medsin Global Surgery National Working Group.


Salil recently completed a Master's degree in Neuroscience at the University of Oxford.

Conor is a medical student at PCMD and currently holds the position of Undergraduate Spinal Surgery Research Fellow. He is the former President of Exeter Surgical Society and has multiple publications in spinal surgery, colorectal surgery and surgical education. Conor has been awarded multiple national prizes/bursaries including intercalation awards from both the Wolfson Foundation and Royal College of Surgeons of England, the BAPRAS elective award and was a finalist in the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh Surgical Skills competition. Recently Conor was also awarded the British Orthopaedic Trainees Association's Junior Essay Writing Prize.


Conor recently completed a Masters by research degree in Cancer Epigenetics at the University of Exeter.

Praveena Deekonda

Praveena is a 4th year medical student (originally from Toronto, Canada) who completed a 12-month research scholar position with the unit and was thereafter promoted to Undergraduate Spinal Surgery Research Fellow.  She is passionate about undergraduate research and has previously completed funded internships in molecular immunology, neuro-oncology and surgical simulation.  Praveena sits on the steering group for STARSurg Research Collaborative, and is interested in global health and medical education.

Harry Theron 2015-16

Harry is a third year medical student at Exeter Medical School. Previously he studied one year of Biomedical Science at Queen Mary, University of London. Harry is currently the Vice-President of Exeter Surgical Society, on the Student Council at the Royal Society of Medicine and on the Student Committee at the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery in Great Britain & Ireland. Harry was previously awarded scholarships for academic excellence by the School of Biological Sciences at Queen Mary, University of London as well as the University of Exeter. Other interests include recent technological advancements in surgery.

Preeti is a fourth year medical student at the University of Exeter, currently an Undergraduate Spinal Research Fellow, having previously been a research scholar in 2015-16. She has previously undertaken numerous research projects, including a fully-funded summer scholarship at the Francis Crick Institute, researching the cellular development of epithelial tumours. She also has an interest in medical journalism and as such has been selected as a 2017 Student BMJ Clegg Scholar.

Preeti will be undertaking a Masters by Research degree in Trauma and Orthopaedics at the University of Edinburgh, starting in September 2017. She will continue her work as a scholar during this time.

Preeti Mahankali-Rao

Harry Theron 2015-16

Tobi Onafawoken 2016-17

Tobi is currently undertaking an intercalated MSc in sports science at the University of Exeter and currently holds the position of research scholar. He is also the current vice president of the Exeter Surgical Society.