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An Eye-Opening Educational Visit to BioMalaysia and ASEAN BioEconomy Conference and Exhibition 2015

08 Oct 2015

17 – 19 August 2015 – A group of undergraduate students and alumni from medical biotechnology programme, International Medical University (IMU) had the opportunity to attend the BioMalaysia and ASEAN BioEconomy Conference and Exhibition 2015 held at Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC), Kuala Lumpur. BioMalaysia and ASEAN BioEconomy Conference and Exhibition is the annual event hosted by Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) and Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation (BiotechCorp). This annual event serves as a platform to promote the biotechnology industries not only in the country but also to other regions through various forms of collaboration. The event this year was even more special as it marked the 10th anniversary of the formation of Malaysia Biotechnology Corporation. Cheow Yi Ann who joined medical biotechnology programme in 2014 shared her experience ‘I got really excited when I viewed the latest models of some instruments such as the Attune NxT Flow Cytometer. It has acoustic-assisted hydrodynamic focusing which helps to achieve sample throughput rates up to 10 times faster than traditional cytometers. Besides that, I’m actually very glad that it enhances what I have learned about flow cytometer when I was in Semester 2. I managed to answer the questions regarding the topic but more importantly I’m glad that I can apply what I have learnt instead of just memorising facts’. bio1 Biotechnology covers many major aspects such as healthcare, agricultural, food, industry and entrepreneur management. These different aspects were well represented in BioMalaysia2015 by exhibitors who showcased their researches and development capabilities, services and products. Realising the potential of biotechnology, Biotechcorp has taken the initiative to actively engage the industries with higher learning institution, with the aims of promoting and creating awareness on biotechnology to the public, as well as boosting innovation and collaboration among industries and institutions.

‘In my opinion, the future of the biotechnology industry will influence other industries in many ways. For example new discoveries in proteins, enzymes, genes and etc will definitely affect the healthcare industry. Sooner or later, almost all health industries, especially the pharmaceutical industry will depend on biotechnology development. Hence, I think more individuals are needed in this industry to ensure a better future’. – Amira Shakira Binti Badarisman (Year 3)

‘Without any doubt, the biotechnology industry has and is definitely heading towards world success. I noticed there were quite a number of healthcare and diagnostic kits related companies, with new products present there. This shows the advancement biotechnology had made over the years.’ – Jeremiah Roy A/L James Mohan (Year 3) bio2 Besides the conferences and exhibition, Biocareer 2015 was another highlight of this event. Biocareer 2015 served as a platform for the industries and the prospective graduates to explore employment opportunities in various fields from bench to management. In Biocareer 2015, students had the chance to participate in the BioStudio 3.0 workshop which focused on personalised career coaching, personalised corporate grooming, personalised branding kit, and Industry meet-up by the professional coaches. A/Prof Shar Mariam Mohamed, the Head of Department of Human Biology who is also actively involved in the medical biotechology programme was appointed by Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation as one of the career coaches under the Talent Management. During the 3-day event, she provided professional advice on prospective careers for future talents in career coaching sessions.

“Majority of biotechnology students and graduates are still unclear about their future directions. As an educator, my role is not just to share knowledge. I also feel obliged and committed to coach them as closely as possible so that their talent and potentials are tapped to the maximum. Indeed Biocareer was an enriching experience for all.”

bio6 Year 2 Medical Biotechnology student, Kenneth Liew mentioned ‘The trip to BioMalaysia ASEAN Bioeconomy 2015 Conference and Exhibition is undeniably a very eye opening experience. Various companies and universities came forward to this grand event to showcase their services and products. Products ranging from analytic lab equipments to natural bio-healthcare products are seen in event. It is also the celebration of BIOTECHCORP 10th Anniversary.” “This event has lead me to discover the vast variety of implementation that biotechnology is not just excelling in medical field but as well as other biology related fields and how far we have come in terms of the implementation and innovation of biotechnology. I have learnt how to better groom and present myself to other people, thanks to a career grooming workshop that BioStudio 3.0 had set up at the event. I also discovered lots of healthcare products that I have never seen before.’

Biostudio is also a very good feature introduced in the fair to let students or even working adults-to-be to understand how important it is to present yourself aside from having the necessary skills to perform at work. – Andrew Octavian (Year 2 MB student)

In addition, numerous multi-national companies such as Norvatis, CJ Bio Corporation, Veras Research, KLS Martin, Biocare Group and Agrovery provided on-site interview for potential candidates. bio4 Year 3 medical biotechnology student, Erna Laere in particular felt very glad with the on-site interview opprotunities. “From this visit, I had gained a very precious experience which is an interview session with the manager of CJ Bio Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. Through this interview session, I was able to promote the IMU medical biotechnology programme to him as he was asking about medical biotechnology career prospects once I graduated. I would consider this interview session as a practice for my future interview sessions for job applications.” “I really appreciate the efforts of medical biotechnology lecturers in arranging this visit. It is very beneficial for all the students and as for me, this visit had helped me in understanding my own interest deeper and open my eyes to more job opportunities in Malaysia.”  There is no doubt that this educational visit cum learning activities conducted annually by medical biotechnology lecturers is very beneficial to the students. It not only allows the students to appreciate the applications of biotechnology knowledge in industries, most importantly, it opens up the students’ perspective on biotechnology industries in Malaysia or globally. As what mentioned by Errina Ramadhani Tendean (Year 3), ‘Biotechnology industry has attained a remarkable growth and interest in Malaysia in recent years. Some of the interest are mainly derived from production of biofuels and alternative therapeutic products. As observed from the Biomalaysia Exhibition, it is evident that Asia will have a main role in the future development of industrial biotechnology. Biotechnology allows the innovation of better healthcare products as well as treatment and Malaysia’s strength in processing with producing industries offers an extensive choice of opportunities for the expansion of biotechnology industry’.

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