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Gaining a Valuable Learning Experience at a Singapore Internship

27 Nov 2019

I am Chai Pei Jun from IMU Medical Biotechnology programme and I did my internship in Prof Wang Yue’s lab at Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB). I selected A*STAR as it is a strong research institute that drives impactful research for making advancements in basic science to patented inventions and ready-to-use technologies. Moreover, I believe that with this opportunity I would be able to build my own strength in the Research and Development industry.

Throughout my 3 months of internship at this lab (A*STAR Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, IMCB), I had the opportunity to learn vital and fundamental laboratory skills which included the operation of several equipment, applying good laboratory practices at my workplace, conducting various experiments and presenting results to senior staff.

During this internship, I was given a project to perform assays on Rv3717 Amidase protein, therefore I searched for the protocols on type of experiments that can be carried out. To carry out experiments on amidase protein, I performed bacteria and yeast culture induction, buffer preparation and protein expression in E. coli. I learned to operate high speed centrifuge, run affinity chromatography and SDS-PAGE. Moreover, I was able to determine the amidase protein concentration using Nanodrop and also by performing Bradford assay. At the same time, I assisted my supervisor on her experiments which including purifying the DNA using the Monarch PCR DNA Cleanup Kit, double digestion on vector, Gibson assembly to join the vector and DNA insert, heat shock transformation to transform cells to take up recombinant gene and set up polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for sequencing. Moreover, I learned to operate High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) and Mass Spectroscopy to determine the presence of desired compounds. To sum it all up, I learned plenty of skills by carrying out all these experiments.

My Learning Experience at IMU
This internship experience adds to what I have learnt at IMU. Throughout my learning experience at IMU, we will always be assigned to different groups to perform lab experiments. This is when I learned to be independent to carry out experiments on my own and I also developed good teamwork to assist my supervisor and other lab members on their experiments. Moreover, I developed time management skills from my final year project, and this is important as I was able to carry out experiments smoothly and complete the work on time. Last but not least, I gained communication skills and presentation skills at IMU and therefore I am able to present the data and results to our lab members. I am so grateful that IMU Medical Biotechnology programme had prepared me well on various lab skills such as operating confocal microscope, DNA purification, digestion and ligation, protein expression and purification. This programme has given me a strong fundamental knowledge from different modules and this enhanced my understanding on the lab projects.

Written and photos by Chai Pei Jun

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