My name is Andrew Octavian Sasmita and I am an alumnus of IMU’s Medical Biotechnology programme of the MB1/14 batch which graduated in November 2017. Upon the completion of my bachelor’s degree, I decided to work in the Clinical Hematology Department of Hospital Ampang, Malaysia, whereby I had the opportunity to work in a clinical setting and delved in a project. I was tasked to formulate new algorithms to be implemented in blood analyzers by utilising existing patient samples. The work I had done not only trained me in various research skills but also garnered me the respect required for the craft. Upon the end of my contract, I decided that it was time for me to move on.
I am currently pursuing my integrated MSc/PhD degree in Neuroscience in Gӧttingen, Germany, under the banner of International Max Planck Research School Scholarship. The scholarship selection opens every year with a rigorous selection process as it considers applicants from all over the globe. The programme consists of two separate phases whereby in the first, students will learn technical courses about neuroscience and its many research aspects, whereas in the second, students will complete a doctoral thesis in any chosen field of neuroscience.
Having a biotechnology background, one might say that neuroscience is not really related to the field that I was trained in; but, I beg to differ. The field of scientific research is forever-evolving, and it has gotten more collaborative not only with respect to the researchers involved, but also, the different researches done inter-disciplinarily. When trained properly, researchers with different research backgrounds might even bring new ideas and techniques to the table, which would only push the scientific boundaries further.
Coming to study in Germany was also not as daunting as I myself am an Indonesian national who had previously studied in Malaysia; but, it was rather exciting knowing that you would not only be a part of a research community which is collaborative, international, and above all, innovative. I recall times during my studies in IMU whereby I realised that learning was not just done in the class. Learning was also done during the many workshops and field trips that were meticulously arranged by the faculty members. Given how robust the entire Medical Biotechnology programme is, I am hard-pressed to find things that the programme is lacking. The programme offers different outlooks on what the students can and/or want to be upon graduation; thus, in many sense, the programme is both academically-driven but also flexible when it comes to career options and support for prospective students.
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