My name is Lee Shu Ning, and I have recently completed my postgraduate programme – MSc in Molecular Medicine (MMM) through Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode with IMU. I am currently working as a fully registered pharmacist at the Ministry of Health, Malaysia in a clinic setting. At the same time, I am also an alumna of IMU, having graduated from the twinning MPharm programme at IMU and University of Strathclyde in 2017.
My interest in research was sparked during my undergraduate days, especially in the area of cancer molecular biology and therapeutics. My initial plan was to pursue postgraduate study after completing my Provisional Registered Pharmacist training in Hospital Melaka. However, I had to put my plan on hold as COVID-19 strikes, and I was soon relocated to one of the health clinics in Sabah for my permanent posting.
Months after settling down at a place far away from home, I then came across this advertisement by IMU on their part-time postgraduate programmes with an ODL option. I could immediately visualise the possibility of me pursuing study while continuing to practise as a pharmacist.
My Journey as a MSc in Molecular Medicine Student
I have journeyed along with this course for nearly 3 years, where I took 2 years to complete most of the modules by online learning. I then took 6 months off work to conduct my research project at IMU in Kuala Lumpur. After completing the lab work, I once again returned to work while preparing for my thesis and viva presentation.
Being a working pharmacist while studying part-time certainly presented its challenges. Balancing coursework, personal commitments, and the demands of my job as a pharmacist, especially during the pandemic, required a significant amount of self-discipline and effective time management skills.
There were numerous times when I felt overwhelmed, but the support from my peers and colleagues helped me stay motivated and focused. Also, the lecturers at IMU are extremely helpful and friendly, which had been a great help in guiding me and answering my queries throughout different modules.
My Research Project
Undoubtedly, the research project is my favourite module that I looked forward to since I started this course. In this module, I delved into research on the potential cardiotoxicities of the combination of conventional chemotherapy and targeted therapy as cancer treatment. I was able to perform various cell culturing techniques, cell viability assays, immunoblotting techniques and RNA transfection methods, which is definitely an exciting yet challenging experience for me.
Also, I had the opportunity to collaborate with Dr Lim Wei Meng from Monash University. Not only has he provided guidance and resources for my project, he also allowed me to take part in his other projects, which has offered me a deeper insight into research knowledge and skills.
The postgraduate journey with IMU has been both challenging and rewarding, be it personally or academically. It equipped me with the knowledge and skills I need to advance in my career, and it reignited my passion towards cancer research in hope of making discoveries that improve people’s lives.
Note: Shu Ning will be graduating with her degree at the November 2023 convocation.