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From an IMU Medical Biotechnology Degree to a PhD

01 Apr 2015

International Medical University (IMU) graduates often find success and fulfillment in most avenues that they pursue. The resultant value of their education is reflected in the wide range of jobs secured, the quality of the graduate programmes pursued and ultimately, in the rewarding careers that they build upon. A shining example of the above is IMU Medical Biotechnology (MB) alumnus Polly Yap Soo Xi, currently pursuing a PhD degree in Medical Microbiology at University of Malaya. She is working on multi-drug resistant Gram negative bacteria in stool using state of the art Biotechnology tools such as metagenomics and metabolomics. Polly joined the inaugural batch of the MB programme in 2008. She chose to study Medical Biotechnology in IMU because at the time, the MB programme was only offered at IMU in Malaysia.

Polly said, “I miss field visits in every semester the most. Places we had visited include KLCC Aquaria, Institute of Medical Research (IMR), Jabatan Kimia Malaysia, Ajinomoto Malaysia and so on. Field visits not only enabled us to learn and be exposed to biotechnology applications outside the textbook but also to strengthen bonding between my course mates and the lecturers.”

Having been enriched by the research culture in IMU while working under the excellent tutelage from her final year research project supervisors, Prof Chu Wan Loy and Dr Kok Yih Yih, she discovered a yearning in the health sciences. She pursued her Master’s Degree in Medical & Health Sciences (By Research) at IMU upon completion of her undergraduate degree.

Another graduate of the same cohort, Amelia Nathania Diong Hui Min, is currently pursuing her PhD in pharmacology research at Monash University Malaysia. Amelia had mentioned that, “Medical biotechnology, a biotechnology course but focusing more on medical related area. Why not? In 2008, IMU was the only university offering this course. Basically you can’t ask more from this course. It covers from basic chemistry to forensic science. Not forgetting all the hands-on experiences during the practical classes. There is no doubt that studying Medical Biotechnology in IMU has really helped me to build a solid foundation in what I am doing now.”

Any future plans?
My interest is definitely in research. Future plans would be to land myself in a research position either in an industrial or academic sector. It would be in my best interest to further explore into my field of research, that not only benefits the greater community but also to inspire young minds towards STEM research.
Advice to students who want to study medical biotechnology
Medical biotechnology is a challenging yet rewarding course. So, make full use of all the resources available at IMU to tackle the hurdles. At any point down the line, when you feel like you cannot do it or you feel like giving up, think about the initial reason why did you chose this course. Give it a clear thought, and if that same reason still motivates you, keep pushing and move forward. The same thing applies to everything you do in life, not just to studies. 


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