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Helix – The Code of Life: Medical Biotechnology Programme’s 10 Years Anniversary Celebration

03 Jul 2018

The Medical Biotechnology programme at International Medical University is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year. As part of this 10th Anniversary Celebrations and in conjunction with the annual World DNA Day Celebrations on 25 April, the medical biotechnology team organised an event ‘Helix – The Code of Life’ on 25 April 2018. This event not only commemorates the 10th anniversary of the programme, but also the anniversary of the publication of DNA double-helix structure in the Nature journal on 25 April, 1953.  The objective of the event was to create awareness on the importance of medical biotechnology for its implications in health and medicine.

The event saw the participation of more than 200 teachers and students from secondary schools and colleges in Klang Valley. As DNA is one of the important tools used by the medical biotechnologists to sustain human society by improving human health, the organising committee created an experiential learning platform for its visitors, where they were able to extract DNA, see and feel the DNA molecules with their own eyes at one of the workshops. Other hands-on opportunities were in the aspects of gene cloning, plant tissue culture, microbiology, bioinformatics and forensic sciences.

All participants were in awe of the various applications and enlightening outcomes of medical biotechnology to the world of medicine, science and research. The participants were also fascinated by the content of the posters and the fun games. A public talk on biotechnology was delivered by the two renowned researchers in the field of medical biotechnology, Prof Chin Beek Yoke from IMU and Dr Lai Pei Jiun from the Institute for Medical Research. As quoted by the prolific author, Helen Keller ‘Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much’. The medical biotechnology (MB) family, including faculty and students of the MB1/16 and MB1/17 cohorts had worked diligently as a team from the planning to the execution stage of the event. They overcame challenges including a packed timetable in organising this event. The DNA model building competition was one of the highlights of the event and it received an overwhelming response from schools.

Prize Students’ Name School DNA Model
First Nor Ilya Batrisyia Bt Ridzwan Nurul Fatihah Nabeela Binti Ali Sekolah Menengah Agama Persekutuan Kajang
Second Ha Zhe Li Anri Takahashi Maz International School
Third Ahmad Syahmi Farhan Bin Sabri Muhammad Fadzlie Bin Rosland Sekolah Menengah Agama Persekutuan Kajang

‘Despite having limited budget and manpower, everyone has gone the extra mile and worked together harmoniously. No doubt, the stress as the organising adviser was intense, but seeing the great response rate and feedback from visitors, it has ensured us that our hard work paid off’.- Dr Kok Yih Yih, organising advisor. Dr Tan Boon Hooi, an organising advisor commented that the event was also an opportunity for MB students to improve their skills in communication, professionalism, community interaction, and time and event management.  “I saw passion, enthusiasm and team spirit in the medical biotechnology team and this will be an event to be remembered for all of us”.

Ruben Amirthalingam, the chairperson of the event recalled “I was ecstatic because finally I could be part of a biotechnology-based event. It was memorable to see the DNA structure being  translated into colourful, structurally-diverse and meaningful models by the participants. Being the organising chairperson, it has given me the opportunity to ensure that medical biotechnology makes a statement and that statement would very well resonate within the IMU community and the public to highlight the contributions of the ‘backstage crew’ in the medical field”.
Bernadette Tune was appointed as one of the vice presidents of the event. This was her first time organising an event of such large scale, and she was getting nervous as the days pass. She was glad the event was a success despite having a number of obstacles, such as lacking of funds, yet they overcame it with fundraising activities.
Nawal Khan, 2nd vice president of the event felt this is one of the highlights of her undergraduate years and she has benefited immensely as her interpersonal skills has improved tremendously, especially in teamwork as this event would not have been successful without others.

Prepared by: Kok Yih Yih, Tan Boon Hooi, Ruben Amirthalingam, Bernadette Tune and Nawal Khan. Photos by: Chan She Leen, Chan Kok Keong Related article: Creating Awareness on the Amazing World of Virus at Medical Biotechnology Day

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