Towards the end of my Medical Biotechnology degree at IMU, I did a three-month long internship at the Tropical Infectious Disease Research and Education Centre (TIDREC) at Universiti Malaya (UM). My internship in TIDREC was under the supervision of Dr Adzzie Shazleen Binti Azman and we worked on a project relating to the antibacterial properties of bioactive compounds on various bacteria. I chose to do my internship at TIDREC as I was fascinated by their mission statement: “To advance knowledge by focusing on research in neglected tropical infectious diseases that have potential impact on the global community.” Upon reading it, I was motivated to play a part, no matter how small, in their journey.
Throughout my internship, I carried out various activities, ranging from lab maintenance to conducting multiple well diffusion and disc diffusion assays on several bacteria. The greatest challenge I faced during my internship was unrelated to lab work – even though I had not carried out well diffusion assay before, practical sessions in IMU had given me the confidence to learn a new skill. The challenge I faced was in training the new interns. Three weeks before I ended my internship, I was asked by my supervisor to train the new interns on what I had been doing so they could carry on the work after I left. Despite the lack of experience I had in teaching lab skills, I felt I was up to the task, thanks to the communication skills IMU had instilled in me, whereby, in practical sessions we would communicate with our group members in discussing the methods. More importantly, during our proposal and thesis presentation we had to explain our methods and defend our projects against the questions asked by the examiners. This prepared me to calmly teach the new interns and answer all their queries.
|Advice to the Juniors
|Be more open to new experiences. What you encounter during your internship may be something unfamiliar and new, instead of worrying and panicking, do not be afraid to ask for help.
Written by Nawal Akbar Khan (MB1/16).