Teenager follows in footsteps of sisters by gaining first class degree

A teenager who started his degree at the age of 16 has completed a family hat-trick by graduating with first class honours.

Cathum Safi, 19, from Ashurst, New Forest, Hampshire, has finished his biomedical science degree at the University of Portsmouth, following in the footsteps of his older twin sisters who also both gained first class honours degrees in physics.

Hannah and Emmal were dubbed “Britain’s brainiest twins” when they graduated from the same university in 2014.

All three siblings were home taught by their parents.

Twins Hannah, left, and Emmal Safi
Twins Hannah, left, and Emmal Safi (University of Portsmouth/PA)

Mr Safi, who wants to be a doctor and whose main interests are neuroscience and immunology, said: “My goal has always been to study medicine.  Being home taught, I’ve never had lessons or lectures so university was a challenging environment to adapt to, but I managed to integrate well.

“Most of the other people there were older but I was made to feel very welcome. I now feel ready for my next challenge – a medical degree.”

His mother, Pam, said: “Cathum went to the same university as his sisters but was only 16 – the youngest ever to take on a biomedical science degree. His first class honours degree is quite an achievement considering his age.”

During his degree, Mr Safi completed placements at the A&E department at Southampton General Hospital and the pathology department at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth.

His personal tutor and senior lecturer Dr Qian An said: “He has been a proactive and focused student who had a clear idea of where he wanted to go in his future career.

“It is very rare for someone to have received a first class honours degree at such a young age. I am of course impressed by his achievements, but not entirely surprised. I wish him every success for the future.”

Hannah is now specialising in cardiology at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, whilst her twin sister Emmal is a senior scientist at the National Physical Laboratory, working on planetary and environmental issues.

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