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IMU Translational Science Fellowship Provides Real-world Research Training

19 Jul 2018

Learn how a postdoctoral fellowship programme could accelerate your research career.

Dr Felicia Chung and Dr Elaine Chan joined IMU as postdoctoral researchers under the Institute for Research, Development and Innovation (IRDI) in 2014. In their three-year fellowship, they have done pretty remarkable things.

Dr Felicia Chung
Dr Chung’s research focuses on epigenetics, which is a cellular process that influences how cells read and carry out genetic instructions by regulating how much and when a gene is expressed. “I am studying the effect certain mutations can have on this process, which in turn determines how cancer cells follow internal instructions and respond to stimuli from the environment,” says Dr Chung.
Dr Elaine Chan
Dr Chan’s current interest is to understand the mechanism of action, role in disease and therapeutics in inflammasome. “Inflammasome signalling pathway is only uncovered recently and thus the detailed mechanisms and role in different diseases that underlie this novel pathway are not completely understood. Therefore, it is of my utmost interest to take an in-depth look at the role of the inflammasome in various diseases in hope to determine the potential of targeting inflammasome pathway for the development of therapeutics,” she explains.

Part of their fellowship involves devoting a majority of their time and effort to research activities. Hence, both fellows had their hands full with studies, projects and initiatives pertaining to their interests. Dr Chung took part in 24 projects while Dr Chan led more than 10 research projects as principal investigator. They have both also published research articles (18 altogether in total for the two of them), helped secure funding for their research, supervised students and carried out experiments. No rest indeed for our fellows!

But it is all for a good cause as both Dr Chung and Dr Chan say that their fellowship gave them an advantage to their career. “My fellowship in IMU was definitely the most productive period of my career,” says Dr Chung. “It was during this time that I wrote my first grant, learned to juggle multiple projects at once, critically evaluate scientific work and supervise students. Because of the nurturing and supporting environment I was in, I was able to accomplish much more than I possibly could have on my own.” She is now a postdoctoral fellow at the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France, where she will be until end of 2019. During her fellowship, Dr Chan says, she was able to build her skills in biostatistics and learned various statistic programmes. “I was also given the opportunity to collaborate with clinicians. With guidance, fellowships allow you to sharpen your research skills, at times in a research field that could be totally different from the field you did for your PhD,” says Dr Chan, who currently serves as a consultant for the university’s biostatistic core facilities.

How best to make use of this opportunity? Hard work and dedication for sure, says our fellows, but also to know what you want out of it. “Take a good hard look at your abilities. Think about what you would like to learn during this time. Strategise and position yourself to learn and do as much as you can to get to where you want to be,” says Dr Chung.

As for Dr Chan, her advice is to learn as much as possible from those around you. “It gives you the opportunity to develop new research skills. A fellowship allows you to build your research interest, which in the long run will help you to excel better as an academic/research as you will have established your research by then.” The programme is sponsored by the IMU Institute for Research, Development and Innovation as part of its mission to train the next generation of scientists focused on accelerating discoveries to benefit human health.

Application for Translational Science Fellowship – Healthcare Data Science and Informatics is now open.
IMU’s Institute for Research, Development and Innovation (IRDI) invites applications for a unique postdoctoral research fellowship position in the area of population health and health data analytics. This position will offer a multidisciplinary, supportive environment where you will grow personally and professionally as you learn from some of the most talented people in the fields. Click here for the required qualifications and application procedures. The deadline for application is 31 July 2018.

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