1 Nov 2017 Gaining Skills and Experience at UK Industrial Attachment

8 May 2017- 9 July 2017 – I did my industrial attachment at the Centre of Biomolecular Science (CBS) in University of Nottingham, UK working as a research assistant under supervision of Dr Tracey Bradshaw and one of her postgraduate student, Alastair Breen. The project we were working on was a nanotechnology-inspired project which encapsulates novel antitumor benzothiazoles within apoferritin protein cages to enhance the bioavailability.

During the first week of my arrival, I was required to study the Laboratory Safety handbook of each laboratory in the whole building and complete an assessment with at least 80 out of 100 passing mark. There were a lot of new stuff which I never studied and contacted before, however necessary knowledge to survive in a laboratory was obtained while studying Pharmaceutical Chemistry at IMU.

After completion of the assessment, finally I got my access to the workplace. The first thing I learnt in my internship was the cell splitting. This was to keep the experimental tumour cell alive and grow well throughout the experiment. My main job scope was to perform Western blot on non-capsulated & encapsulated apoferritin of 2 benzothazioles drugs (5F 203 and GW610) on 7 human tumour cell lines. Basically, I was dealing with cells most of the time. As a pharmaceutical chemistry student, this is quite new for me since Chemistry is the major field during my degree study.

Undoubtedly, I acquired many new lab skills and chance to handle different advanced instruments while conducting this project. The skills that I am most familiar was collecting  cell lystate, performing gel electrophoresis, Bradford assay, antibody incubation and etc.  These skills were all included in the protocol of Western blot. The whole process of western blotting was time consuming and tedious especially when performing a gel transfer of protein from the membrane. It took my supervisor 2 weeks to train me with the whole protocol before I started working individually.

Since I was not working in a company, I was allowed to have extremely flexible working hours. Despite the freedom and trust given by my supervisors, I always discipline myself to complete my daily task on time. During weekends, I always grabbed my time to travel around. This is also one of the advantages of doing an attachment here as most of the places in UK are accessible by public transport from here. This makes weekend short trips always possible. After completing my 2 months internship, I spent another one month to travel around in Europe before going back Malaysia.

I am truly grateful to have the opportunity to discover the wonders of UK and Europe. It was challenging to travel so far alone and be open minded to know people from different backgrounds. Stepping out from my comfort zone had gained me a lot of fun and challenges. I appreciate everyone I met in both work and travel throughout these months.

More than grateful to my lecturer Dr Mai Chun Wai for his long term collaboration with my external supervisor, Dr Tracey Bradshaw to make this possible.

Written by IMU Pharmaceutical Chemistry student, Gladys Yap Zi Yu.

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