11 Jun 2021 From IMU Medical Biotechnology to a Career in Molecular Diagnostics, Singapore

Chean Nee Chan, an alumna of the IMU Medical Biotechnology programme, currently works as a medical technologist at the National University Hospital, Singapore. Her daily work at the Molecular Diagnosis Centre mainly focuses on analysing patient samples from the oncology and infectious diseases departments using both ‘Sanger sequencing’ and ‘next gene sequencing’ (NGS) techniques. DNA sequencing technology delivers accurate data and an insight into DNA variation. Such precise molecular results can help clinicians make recommendations on patients’ treatment and management plan. Her role as a support staff is equally important to ensure that patients receive precise treatment.

During the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, her team was assigned to analyse Covid-19 patients’ samples. ‘Although tiring, it was rewarding as I was able to support front liners to combat against the spread of the virus in the community.’

Since school days, Chean Nee has had a great interest in science, particularly in medical biotechnology, as she regards the notion of improving human health fulfilling. After completing her Unified Examination Certificate (UEC), she chose to pursue her dream at the International Medical University in 2008, when the BSc (Hons) in Medical Biotechnology programme was first offered.

The main reason that sparked her interest in medical biotechnology was due to her great interest in biological field. Having to combine new technology to biology was a very appealing idea to her. The Medical Biotechnology curriculum has given her an insight into exciting subjects such as molecular biology, forensic science, cell and tissue culture, bioprocess, and pathology. The knowledge and research skills gained have prepared her to be a competent laboratory technologist with commendable laboratory skills.

Final Year Research Project
Chean Nee shared that the experience gained from her final year research project was memorable and it had given her a glimpse into scientific research. After numerous sleepless nights in the research lab, her experiment finally showed the expected results and this was rewarding for her.
Internship
Internship was a good exposure to working environment before we entered the outside world. It gave Chean Nee more confidence in facing the challenges I might encounter in future at work. Both the industry internship and final year project have equipped her well before disembarking into postgraduate study.

The knowledge, problem-solving and critical thinking skills obtained have resulted in a relatively easy journey for her when studying in the Master of Science (Forensic Science) programme at the Universiti Technology Malaysia. She always has great interest to troubleshoot and problem solving and the knowledge of forensic tools she acquired in her postgraduate study has provided her the ability to recognise and seize on forensic evidence.

Photos provided by Chean-Nee Chai, an IMU Medical Biotechnology Alumnus

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