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IMU Postgraduate Students’ Selected for Malaysia Biocamp 2015 (National Level)

27 May 2015

A total of 77 submissions, the top 34 were chosen and 2 were from International Medical University (IMU), Bukit Jalil. These two postgraduate students, Ms Haema Thevanayagam and Ms Wong Ying Pei were selected as the top 34 for the first ever Malaysia BioCamp 2015 (National Level) hosted by the Malaysia Biotechnology Corporation (BiotechCorp) in partnership with Novartis Malaysia and supported by the Ministry of Education and Industry Centre of Excellence (ICoE), Healthcare Cluster, held on 5– 6 May 2015. This event was organised to select 2 outstanding young scientists focused in biotechnology-related research to represent Malaysia in Switzerland for the International Biocamp 2015 in August, giving them the chance to network with industry leaders and fellow peers, and to explore career opportunities in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Among the finalists were IMU students Ms Haema Thevanayagam and Ms Wong Ying Pei. Both students are pursuing their PhD in Medical and Health Sciences (By Research) under the supervision of A/Prof Shar Mariam Mohamed. The event took place in BioTechCorp’s headquaters located in Menara Atlan, Kuala Lumpur.  Both students were able to represent IMU under the guidance of their supervisor who has played an important role in supporting them. Biocamp2b Haema was glad to be selected to the National Level BioCamp as it was a tough competition. She is even happier to represent IMU and thanked her supervisor for challenging her to submit an application. “First of all, I must thank my supervisor for the support she gave from day one. The two-day event was tremendously informative and exciting. The opportunity to work in a team and equip myself with knowledge from other sectors especially business and marketing was something new. Although I was not selected as the top 2 to Switzerland, the participation alone was a golden opportunity as it was able to provide me the knowledge of producing innovative and high-quality products and therapeutics.” “The experts present during the event had so much to offer which definitely equipped me with the essentials on conducting quality research including technical and experimental skills while addressing legal and ethical issues.The camp also helped me not only to be aware of recent development and breakthrough but also to identify the challenges in the biotechnology sector.”

“It was indeed an opportunity to experience a good culture that stimulates cooperation and sharing of ideas that builds professional bonds among the experts and participants,” said the 28 year old.

She also mentioned that the BioCamp was an immense opportunity to meet and explore potential collaborations with other researchers. “It was an amazing experience to be able to meet and explore collaboration possibilities with other postgraduate students. The camp was a good platform to share and discuss the concerns of patients’ unmet medical needs and work towards the goal of promoting health and well-being along with other researchers. Participation in the BioCamp enlightened me on business opportunities worldwide, not mentioning the peripheries that support a good business practices which included grooming and branding! The BioCamp was a great avenue for me to appreciate the entire process from discovery, development, manufacturing and marketing of innovative products while understanding the professionalism practised within the company,” she added. She concluded that not only the camp had objectively enhanced her career aspirations by widening her knowledge in research and business, but also made her a more determined, confident, independent person, researcher, businesswoman and a leader. On the other hand, Ms Wong Ying Pei, was excited to be shortlisted to the national level as she regarded it as an opportunity to meet people and gain knowledge. When interviewed, she said this was a valuable experience for her. “I believe that the experience I gained through this competition will enlighten my career especially in the Medical Biotechnology field,” said Ying Pei who is also lecturer of the Medical Biotechnology programme at IMU. She feels such competitions should be held more often to introduce various fields in the medical and business sectors and initiate the interest of students on this field.

“The participation has also made me aware of the job opportunities nationwide and worldwide. It has brought forward a lot of job prospects which we had not considered as a postgraduate student. The speeches and talks by professionals have also made clear the quality and education level they seek in a good employee, not mentioning the circumstances they face in biotechnology and manufacturing.”

“The use of natural resources and our role in ensuring their sustainability was also highlighted and new useful information was shared among all participants and professionals. I appreciate the moments that I have spent at this event,” she added. IMU thanks and congratulates A/Prof Shar Mariam Mohamed for her passion and tirelessly encouraging her students to explore their potentials. Her professional collaboration especially with the Malaysia Biotechnology Corporation has certainly boosted the reputation of the Medical Biotechnology Programme.

Congratulations to Ms Haema and Ms Ying Pei for making IMU proud and may their achievements reach greater heights in future.

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