14 Jan 2017 Gaining Valuable Industrial Experience at Cancer Research Malaysia
Pharmaceutical Chemistry students at International Medical University (IMU) have the opportunity to put their knowledge to practice through an 8-week industrial attachment. The attachment allows students to gain valuable industrial experience and build their professional network for their careers. Wong Zheng Wei was given the opportunity to undertake his attachment at Cancer Research Malaysia (CRM), which is the leading cancer research organisation in Malaysia. Zheng Wei relates his experience undertaking this attachment.
“Within the training period, I was expected to complete a project to test the anti-proliferative effect of a previously approved breast cancer drug on oral cancer cell lines. At the very beginning, I felt immensely out of place as I had no experience or knowledge in the field, but I persevered and brushed up on the areas I was lacking in. I was taught the basics of cell culturing, procedures to prepare cell proliferation assay, as well as immunoblotting for the project, plasmid extraction and basic animal work.
Apart from laboratory work, it was mandatory to attend weekly meetings, gatherings, product presentations, and talks by professionals from other institutes. I would say these exposures have kept me up-to-date with the advancement of science and technology, and at the same time, piqued my interest in research. The experience would not be complete without the awesome colleagues and people I interacted with while I was there. Moreover, they were amiable and down-to-earth, thus it was easy to get along and I could rely on them when I had doubts.
The modules that I have learned in the Pharmaceutical Chemistry programme such as Biological Science, Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Engineering have assisted me in coping with the project work during the attachment. The practical sessions have introduced me to the appropriate skills and use of laboratory instruments while the lectures gave me an insight into the field of cancer. In addition, soft skills such as communication skills, teamwork, and problem solving, aided me when I was adjusting to the working environment and I owe it to the Social Responsibility module which I have gone through in IMU.
Despite it being only 3 months, I was blessed to briefly experience life in research, which turned out to be both challenging and enjoyable. At the end of it, I learnt that it pays to try new things and never to let go of an opportunity. Finally, I would like to give a special shout-out to Dr Keng and Dr Cheong for their relentless support, and the people back in CRM for making my time there unforgettable.”
Cancer Research Malaysia (CRM) is a research institute comprising five divisions, oral cancer, breast cancer, nasopharyngeal cancer, familial cancer and drug discovery. The various departments are branched into two locations, one in the Sime Darby Medical Centre and Revongen Corporation Centre. The institute collaborates with professionals from other research facilities and universities worldwide, relying on the strong diverse networking it has built over the years.