13 Sep 2021 My Journey as an IMU MSc in Analytical and Pharmaceutical Chemistry Student

Wong Yoke Lan (Kath) at the one of IMU’s learning resources, Medical Museum. 

My name is Wong Yoke Lan (Kath) and I enrolled into the IMU MSc in Analytical and Pharmaceutical Chemistry (MAPC) programme in September 2019. Recently on 30 July 2021, I successfully defended my master’s dissertation viva in front of an examination panel which consists of one internal examiner and one external examiner. With the completion of the viva examination and all the coursework modules in the programme, I have delightfully completed all the programme requirements to graduate.

Back in August 2019, this exciting journey began just about the right timing when I got back to Malaysia after completing my Bachelor’s degree in Thailand.

My plan was to have a full-time job locally and at the same time pursue a Master’s degree as well. I was searching all over for a programme that would match my interest and also the schedule that I’ve planned for myself. Gladly, I found IMU’s MAPC programme (conducted full-time during weekends) and proceeded with the enrollment right away.

Being someone who is passionate about discovering new drugs and formulations, the MAPC programme has further led me to believe in the path I think would suit me best. Throughout the course, I have gained broad knowledge in various analytical methods and extensive knowledge when I worked on my research after completing all the coursework modules.

MAPC has taught me analytical techniques for qualitative and quantitative analysis, quality management and regulatory systems, research methodology and scientific writing, as well as drug discovery techniques. Those are very useful skills for my current job as a chemist.

Apart from that, as a young graduate with zero working experience other than previous internships, I felt thankful that every professor I’ve met during the coursework modules have truly inspired me to outgrow myself with unique ways to master critical thinking skills. I believe this is one of the most important lifetime skills that could never be taught as courses but it would be really helpful for everyone as we encounter real-life experiences later on, especially for work.

For my research, I wanted to work on developing a medicated formulation that could help the society, for instance, for skin diseases. With my background previously majoring in cosmetic science,  I was not even sure at first if I would be able to work on something related to the skills I have gained from my Bachelor’s degree. That was until I was introduced to Dr Manisha Pandey, my main supervisor, and Dr Hira Choudhury, my co-supervisor.

Frankly speaking, I was truly dumbfounded how they could supervise me in combining my skills and interests to create something great which could be really beneficial to anyone out there in the future.

Conducting Research During a Pandemic
Unforeseen by everyone, a researcher’s life in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, honestly, was quite a struggle as the lockdowns have resulted in major limitations, but fortunately it was manageable. Special thanks to the IMU postgraduate research lab staff, everything I needed to complete my research within the scheduled time has been provided and the whole process ran smoothly despite of the situation.

I enjoyed my time studying at IMU; everything went well, exactly like how I have planned it. Although I will be graduating soon, I know I will miss every moment I’ve spent learning and laughing with my course mates, those educational yet fun times exploring drugs using Maestro with Dr Vasudeva Rao Avupati during the Computational Drug Discovery Techniques module.

From there, the greater enthusiasm I discovered has got me intrigued in considering pursuing the IMU PhD programme.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude towards IMU MAPC’s module coordinator, programme director, and all my professors, with special appreciation to my supervisors, Dr Manisha Pandey and Dr Hira Choudhury, for all the advice and visions throughout my research, as well as Dr Subrat Kumar Bhattamisra, my second co-supervisor, for the detailed guidance on microbiological testing, one of the skills I could further refer to along my career pathway.

Lastly, although it was not an easy feat, I am pleased that I am able to complete my Master’s study in less than two years. I am grateful for the constant support and patience from my supervisors, my family, friends, and most importantly myself.

Advice to Anyone who is Considering Pursuing Their Master’s Study
For anyone who is considering to pursue their Master’s study, find your passion, believe in yourself, and go for it. It doesn’t matter if you still have not had your life all figured out, just make sure to discover yourself along the path you’ve chosen.

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