I could still recall the day when I was on the way home from my internship placement, when I suddenly received a message from my final year project supervisor, Ts Dr Wong Chiew Yen asking if I was keen to present a paper in a conference. It was a tough decision to make, but opportunities do not come around every day. Hence, with my spontaneous decision to say yes, I attended the two-day conference, the International Meeting – 47th Annual Conference of the Malaysian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IM-MSBMB47), themed “’Advancing Biosciences: Discoveries and Innovations” on 23 and 24 August 2023, in Petaling Jaya.
As only postgraduates were eligible for rapid oral presentations, I participated as a poster presenter, showcasing my final year project with the topic “Assessing the Effects of Heavy Metals (Zinc and Lead) on Bioremediation of Diesel Hydrocarbons by Antarctic Microalga, Tritostichococcus sp.”
Over the two days, I gained a wealth of knowledge and insights from experts and postgraduates from various fields. The topics covered ranged from biochemistry, genetics/epigenetics, stem cell biology, bioinformatics, natural product discovery, metabolomics/proteomics, to pathways and therapeutic paradigms of cancer and other prevalent cellular diseases. Furthermore, I was also exposed to exciting information about cutting-edge technologies like digital PCR and twenty-four-colour panelled immunophenotyping, which could revolutionalise current research methods. During the session breaks, I took the opportunity to network with postgraduates from local and overseas universities, learning about their projects and research journeys thus far.
As the conference drew to a close, receiving an outstanding poster award was beyond my expectations. I am grateful to my supervisors, postgraduate seniors, and lab mate who have guided me along the way. In particular, I cannot thank my main supervisor, Ts Dr Wong, enough. She has overseen my final year project, encouraged my participation in the conference, and helped me refine my poster prior to submission. I can confidently say that I could not have achieved this without her and her amazing team.
All in all, this was an invaluable experience for me that undoubtedly made my final year as an undergraduate medical biotechnology student at IMU eternally memorable. This unique learning platform, along with the strong enthusiasm displayed by both young and experienced researchers in their respective fields of expertise, has further deepened my interest and motivation in research.
Written by Goh Wen Xi