On 27 January 2022, IMU BSc (Hons) Pharmaceutical Chemistry PC120 cohort accompanied by two lecturers (A/Prof Lee Choy Sin and Dr Low May Lee) were given the opportunity to visit Malaysian Nuclear Agency. It was the first time the agency is opening up for such a visit since restrictions were imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This visit is part of the programme’s Physical Chemistry module in which students undertake this module in Semester 5 of the programme in order to gain a better understanding of the nature of research activities in nuclear science.
The nuclear chemistry topics in the module focuses on the study of reactions involving changes in particles in atomic nuclei and its extensive applications in science and technology, including medicine and pharmaceuticals. Students learned about the particles in the nuclei and their reactions, as well as the principles of radioactivity.
This visit to Malaysian Nuclear Agency allowed students to relate the knowledge they learned in the classroom to real-life applications and strengthen their understanding on the topics as well as further expand their horizons on the nuclear facilities available and current trends of research in Malaysia.
Upon arriving, the group was welcomed by senior research officer, Dr Azahari Kasbollah, the manager for Radioisotope Production Technology Group. During a briefing by Muhammad Hanaffi Mohamad Mokhtar on Malaysia Nuclear Agency, their facilities and research, the students were excited to know about the successful production of Samarium-153 radioisotope using TRIGA PUSPATI Reactor (RTP) in Malaysian Nuclear Agency for bone palliative treatment.The group was then brought to Radiopharmaceuticals Technology Laboratory and was shown the facilities and radiopharmacy hoods available for radiopharmaceuticals production by Wan Hamirul Bahrin Wan Kamal.
Following that, Rahimah Abdul Rahim led the group to Products Control Technology Laboratory and explained the different types of instruments available for radioisotopes identification, purification and characterisation. Later, the group was brought to Pharmaceutical Technology Laboratory and was given a lab tour by Dr Zainah Adam. Students were introduced to different techniques for medicinal natural products extraction and bioassays.
It was a very memorable half-day visit to the agency and definitely a wonderful eye-opening experience for the students.
The students gave very positive feedback on the visit:
“The visit to the Nuclear Agency Malaysia was quite interesting as there were different types of analytical equipment in it. We also had the opportunity to observe how to handle the radioisotopes. It was quite surprise that the microbiology field was also found in Nuclear Agency Malaysia. This trip enables me to gain experiences and also let me know more about what field I can pursue in future job.” – Tan Pei Yi
“The Nuclear Agency visit taught us about the applications of nuclear chemistry in the medical field especially and the different instruments that were involved in the industrial scale. Besides that, we were also able to visit a few different laboratories which included their analytical and microbiological labs. Getting the opportunity to actually see how the theory of nuclear chemistry was applied industrially at the Malaysian Nuclear Agency was definitely an eye-opening experience for me.” – Kimberly Tan Hwee.
“The visit to the Nuclear Agency Malaysia was an eye-opening experience as I was able to observe different analytical equipment, for instance instrument with gamma detector! Other than that, we were given an opportunity to understand how radioisotopes works and how it is developed. These experiences further enhance my knowledge in this field and enable me to know what I want to pursue in my future job.” – Lee Jie Ying