I have always wanted to be a person who can heal people, so I wished to be in a profession related to medicine. As I grew up, I found out there are so many professions in which you are able to heal people and make a difference. Hence, I needed to chart out my future career path. While I was undertaking Foundation in Science, I remembered watching a movie which was related to a pharmaceutical company and I started to understand the importance of drugs in our life. With this goal in mind, I gained interest in pharmaceutics. After graduating from high school, I started searching for universities with the best education structure to pursue my interest. I came across International Medical University (IMU) in Malaysia, which is the only university which offers BSc (Hons) in Pharmaceutical Chemistry programme. At that time, I was considering undertaking either the Pharmacy or Pharmaceutical Chemistry programmes. Eventually, I chose Pharmaceutical Chemistry programme since it would be more suitable to my interest towards developing new medicines in the pharmaceutical industry. Since then, I have completed my internship at Theragen Etex in Korea, and I have continued my working contract with them as a researcher under the Research and Development (R&D) unit.
My main job scope is to develop and manufacture both generic and new drugs. These drugs will be subjected to various tests such as in vitro and in vivo experiments disintegration and dissolution. Ever since I have worked as a R&D researcher, I felt that I chose the perfect major which is Pharmaceutical Chemistry, in IMU.
The modules in the programme have indeed helped me in my current role as a researcher. In fact, I realised that all the modules are very important in my work. Nevertheless, the most helpful modules are Pharmaceutical Organic Chemistry, Pharmaceutics, Pharmacology, Pharmaceutical Analysis, Pharmacokinetics, Synthetic Organic Chemistry, Heterocyclic Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Engineering and Bioinformatics. While working in my current company, I found out that my notes are still relevant and I just need to revise my previous modules/lectures if I need to recall any chemistry-related information. Theories and skills that I have learned have been very practical in my current working environment. Example, theories and skills that I have learned in Pharmaceutics, Formulation Science and Pharmaceutical Engineering lectures have helped a lot during the drug manufacturing process, especially in the drug formulations and related instruments.
Besides, General Pharmacology, Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics modules also assisted me to have an understanding about the drug that I was developing, as well as the expectation of in vivo reaction through in vitro experiments. Moreover, Pharmaceutical Analysis lectures helped a lot in the analysis, such as using high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) and ultraviolet (UV) spectroscopy, stability tests and validation of analytical methods.
Even though I have learned a lot of theories from lectures and practical sessions, lifelong learning skill is very important in keeping myself abreast with the current knowledge and technology. Besides that, I always believe that the acquired knowledge should be applied into our work/projects. My advice for the juniors is that Pharmaceutical Chemistry programme will be the wonderful key to open new opportunities. I felt that working as R&D researcher in pharmaceutical company is very fascinating wherein, I felt accomplished and determined!
Written by Kim Jiyoung, an international student from South Korea