20 Apr 2018 A Better Understanding in Molecular Medicine

IMU Master of Science in Molecular Medicine programme is designed to cater for medical or basic sciences graduates seeking advance training in cellular and molecular biology, genetics, as well as drug development and treatment. The programme prepares students for career opportunities in medically focused biopharmaceutical and biotechnology industries; and equip students with enhanced skills to carry out research at a higher degree in related fields. The coursework is conducted in a highly engaging and conducive environment to stimulate learning experience. Comprehensive laboratory-based training is also provided in the form of hypothesis-driven and disease-oriented research project. Additionally, flexible delivery in the form of online learning and weekend classes provides an opportunity to adult students for skills upgrade and knowledge update which enables further career progression and advancement.

Since the inauguration in 2012, the programme has attracted students from diverse background including medical practitioners, dentists, pharmacists, R&D scientists, laboratory technologists and dietitians. Among them is Mohd Fadzly bin Shaharuddin, a scientific officer at Histopathology Lab, Department of Pathology, Hospital Kuala Lumpur who graduated with distinction from the programme recently.

According to Mohd Fadzly, “Molecular testing for solid tumour is a new service in my lab. We started with ISH testing for breast cancer biopsy on 2010 and will soon be focusing on other type of solid tumours such as neuroblastoma, lung cancer, soft tissue tumor, brain tumor, lymphoma and etc. Currently, histopathology lab in Hospital Kuala Lumpur is the only centre under Ministry of Health offering ISH testing on solid tumours. The management is planning to embark on more molecular testing including genetic biomarker testing for colorectal and lung cancer.”

“As a scientific officer I think it is imperative for me to gain more insight into the molecular basis of cancer, and to stay abreast with the latest advancement in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Both of these are important for me to really appreciate my job, and to improve current practices and services offered by my lab.”

Mohd Fadzly’s general role in the lab include overseeing the daily operations of the laboratory, both the instrument and certified laboratory testing. Specifically, he performs QC check on the histopathology slides, troubleshoots for error in instrument, conduct molecular testing such as In-situ hybridization (ISH) test on HER-2 gene for breast cancer patient and EBER RNA for Epstein –Barr virus infection as well as immunohistochemistry testing for all types of solid tumour. In addition, he is also involved in the external quality assessment for technical evaluation of the lab test.

He added, “Overall, I think the curriculum of the programme is well-designed. In particular, the student-centered learning approach allow me to be more independent and help in building my confidence. Besides, the online session which enable students to discuss and communicate with the peers and lecturer without the restriction of venue and time is very useful, especially for a working adult like me.”

“Having a higher degree would definitely help in my career progression. Aside from that, I have learned a lot from this programme. For instance, I now have a better understanding of the molecular basis of diseases and the molecular pathway involved in cancer. In addition, I am aware of the current development in stem cells technology, and the application of the approach in disease management and treatment. Only after joining this programme, I started to appreciate the contribution of individual variability in lifestyle, genes and environment to diseases. As such, I strongly believe that precision medicine is really the future of healthcare.”

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