I am ChM Dr Yie Kie Chong and this is my journey which started from IMU to where I am now.
I pursued my Master’s degree in Medical and Health Sciences at IMU under the supervision of A/Prof Ooi Ing Hong and co-supervised by A/Prof Ng Chew Hee in 2014. I worked on “Synthesizing of Miktoarm Star Polymeric Nanoparticles for Drug Delivery”. During those days, I found lifelong friendships and met many wonderful lecturers and students. Everyone was amicable, happy and working closely together in the laboratory. You would always hear the discussions on their experiment’s protocol, exchange of research insights in the postgraduate research office, sharing the pain when they failed in their respective experiments as well as sharing their joys when a reaction worked!
Of course, who can forget the unique postgraduate laboratory in IMU? Those working in our laboratories are not only biologists but also chemists. It was a cross over and a scientific melting pot which turned out pretty fruitful! I felt contented every day and lucky enough to work in this environment. I believe these are the main reasons why all postgraduates shared deep relationships, like those in a family. In fact, to date, we still keep in touch. And that is one of the BEST things I treasure about my IMU journey.
Back in 2014, I was working as a graduate research assistant (GRA) while doing my master research. That experience trained me to work effectively and efficiently. With this job, IMU sponsored my tuition fee and monthly stipend which highly eased my finances, so I could focus on my research. As a GRA, my job was to provide instrumental training to undergraduate students and run samples for the instrument (inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS)) under my supervision.
I have also taken part in ICP-MS training provided by Perkin Elmer. In addition, I was given an opportunity to undergo training for the ISO/IEC 17025 Auditor Course, gained a certificate for it and acted as internal auditor for IMU laboratories.
The great research experience in IMU has inspired and reaffirmed my passion in research. I always believe that a good researcher must be up to date, always strive to receive the latest information from journals or peers and that exchange of knowledge with others is of upmost importance.
After graduation from IMU with a Master’s degree, I decided to study abroad to widen my research knowledge and learn from other researchers across the globe. I always believe that science is beyond borders. People from different regions will always have different perspectives and ways of doing things. There is so much to learn from moving away from our comfort zone. Thus, I made a real quick decision to work on my PhD research on “Human Polymer”—glycoprotein under Prof Yasuhiro Kajihara in Osaka University.
During my PhD, I worked on semi-synthesis of homogenous glycoprotein, interferon-β (a cytokine) by utilising bacterial protein expression and chemical synthesis. Indeed, my PhD was tough but IMU had prepared me to face any challenges bravely. I couldn’t put it better than William Osler, “The best preparation for tomorrow is to do today’s work superbly well.” IMU has guided and led me to another exciting journey of my life.
Currently, I am working as a postdoctoral research fellow in Monash University. With all the skills and knowledge IMU has inculcated in me, I am now a professional researcher. In terms of chemistry, my research journey has “crystallized”.
To all those aspiring young enthusiasts, I wish you well in your journey in IMU. I can guarantee that IMU will open more doors of opportunities the same way they have offered me!