Two IMU final year pharmacy students, Joycelin Tan Zhu Xin and Loh Hui Lin, had the opportunity to complete their research semester at Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania, Australia. They elaborate more about their experience here. “Our project in Menzies Institute for Medical Research is mainly focused on a natural product, which is Asperuloside (ASP). ASP is an extract from the leaves of Coprosoma quadrifida, which is believed to demonstrate anti-obesity properties. In our project, we determine whether ASP will show effects of anti-obesity through direct reduction of food intake in mice exposed to chronic high fat diet and to evaluate its safety in mice.
We were pleased by the warm hospitality from our colleagues in Menzies Institute for Medical Research, such as Dr Vanni Caruso from the Pharmacology Unit Department, University of Tasmania (UTAS). He and his colleagues welcomed us with open arms and made us feel at home. Furthermore, we were fortunate to have the chance to conduct our research project in a sophisticated and well-equipped laboratory, under the supervision of Muhammad Ishaq (a PhD student of Dr Vanni Caruso), who was so willing to spare his time in sharing his expertise and knowledge with us. During our lab sessions, we were lucky to acquire some laboratory skills, such as pipetting samples into polymerase chain reaction (PCR) plate, preparing MasterMix and developing skills of using Real-Time PCR machine (Roche and BioRad), where we strengthen our pipetting skills and gained valuable experiences in data analysis. We truly appreciate and feel thankful towards Dr Vanni Caruso for giving us this opportunity and a great deal of support during our stay in Tasmania. We wish to record our special thanks to him for sparing his valuable time to pick us up from Hobart airport upon our arrival, and Muhammad Ishaq, who is kind and friendly, in guiding and imparting his knowledge to ensure the completion of the project on schedule.
Overall, this was definitely a memorable and valuable learning experience and we would like to thank everyone, especially our parents, for all the physical and mental support throughout the project. We have gained much more than we hope for. This research project at Menzies Institute for Medical Research was, in fact, one of the best learning experiences that we have had and we wish to express our greatest thanks to IMU and all our supervisors who made it happen.”