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Prince of Songkla University Student’s Journey as an Intern at IMU

26 Feb 2020

1 August -1 December 2019: International Medical University, Malaysia (IMU) welcomed a student from Thailand’s Prince of Songkla University, Apiwat, as an intern with the Medicinal Chemistry research team. This was the first inbound student to complete a whole semester in IMU. We managed to catch up with Apiwat and this is what he has to say about his experience.

Describe a little bit about yourself
I am a final year (Semester 11) BSc Pharmacy student from Prince of Songkla University and an ASEAN scholar. As a Pharmacy student, my major will be in industrial pharmacy focusing on pharmaceutical technology. In order to pursue my interest in natural product research. I decided to join the medicinal chemistry research team of IMU as an intern.

How did you decide to come to Malaysia and IMU for the internship?
I was recommended by one of my professors to join the research team at IMU supervised by Prof Mallikarjuna Rao Pichika to complete my four-month internship. I humbly accepted the recommendation upon looking into the diversity and research excellence of the team, as well as the teaching excellence and professional environment of the worldwide recognised institute. The team’s diversity of expertise covers a wide range of fields relevant to drug discovery such as synthetic organic chemistry, natural products, computational modelling, PKPD/DMPK profiling and target identification. The extraction and isolation of natural product bioactives caught my attention the most, but I do not shy away from learning other experimental techniques and knowledge from various fields.

Describe your experience in IMU
I received a warm welcome from the Dean, staff and fellow research community. My learning experience with the team highly exceeded my expectations. I was enthralled with the efficiency, productivity, quality and effort produced by the teamwork; which motivated me to increase my productivity aside from accelerating my learning growth.

An ASEAN Scholar studying BSc Pharmacy at Prince of Songkla University, Thailand relates his internship experience at IMU, Malaysia.

I felt comfortable working with proper guidance from the supervisor and teammates with various backgrounds of expertise and qualifications. The opportunities provided by the teammates to take part in their research work is highly appreciated; it provided me with a broader learning experience. More than everything, I thoroughly enjoyed the teamwork and the knowledge exchange.

I have learnt multiple skills in a short period of time, such as chromatography, separation and isolation techniques, natural product extraction, brief organic synthesis and compound characterisations from Puvaneswari Marappan (MSc graduate); pre-clinical studies and HPLC operation from Zhang Shiming (PhD candidate); cell culture work from Servenna Chua (research assistant);; constant guidance from Prof Mallikarjuna Rao Pichika, Mak Kit Kay (PhD candidate and lecturer), Low Jun Sheng (MSc candidate) and other researchers. I could not have completed my scheduled tasks without the team’s direction, in which I will be forever grateful. The facilities available at the research lab had also made this possible.

An ASEAN Scholar studying BSc Pharmacy at Prince of Songkla University, Thailand relates his internship experience at IMU, Malaysia.

Here, I practised the English language for the first time in daily communications and assignments. This internship provided me the chance to overcome the language barrier remarkably beginning from listening followed by speaking and writing. I feel more confident in presenting my work and findings in the English language. The learning adventures throughout this short stay will definitely benefit my future. I enjoyed the Malaysian culture, food and architecture. I adapted relatively quickly to these new surroundings, as the culture is similar to Thailand. I will certainly miss this place and my teammates who have grown to be like a family to me.

We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to Apiwat for taking his time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. IMU wishes him all the best in his future endeavours.

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