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Thai Student Gains Invaluable Research Experience at IMU

31 Oct 2019

2 July to 1 Nov 2019 – International Medical University, Malaysia (IMU) hosted a Master student from Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, Thitiya Lasing, under its Student Mobility Programme. During this 4-month visit, we managed to interview her about her experience at IMU and in Malaysia.

Describe a little bit about yourself
I am a Master student of Organic Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University. Since my research interest is about drug discovery, I have synthesised new potent compounds using organic chemistry knowledge and have investigated their bioactivities and pharmacological properties. As our countries, Thailand and Malaysia, are considered as tropical countries, the diseases in these countries such as Leishmania, and Malaria, have captured my interest. After I synthesised 18 compounds of rhodacyanine class, I had studied their anti-leishmanial activities against indigenous Leishmania spp. in Thailand and clarified some of their mechanism of action.
How did you decide to come to Malaysia and IMU for the attachment?
Last year, I was doing my research at Chulalongkorn University when an IMU lecturer and researcher, Dr Ng Chew Hee visited the laboratory together with Dr Tanatorn Khotavivattana, my supervisor in Thailand. It was during that visit that we started talking about a possibility for a research collaboration between Chulalongkorn University and IMU.

Since I have the support of the Royal Government of Thailand scholarship called Development and Promotion of Science and Technology Talents Project (DPST), I am eligible to apply for a short-term international research scholarship which is also provided by the same grant. This gave me the opportunity to apply for the Inbound Mobility Programme at IMU. I was accepted into the programme for a period of 4 months. I joined this mobility programme because I wanted to expand my research area to Malaria. The antimalarial activities against Plasmodium falciparum of my compounds were investigated. Most importantly, the most potent compound’s mechanism of action has to be clarified because this is a crucial for antimalarial drug discovery.

Describe your experience in Malaysia
There are many new experiences staying here in Malaysia. To begin with is the foods in Malaysia, Malaysian foods are very new to me although there are some similarities to Thai food. I enjoy a lot of the foods and drinks in Malaysia that I have not tried before, such as Nasi Lemak, Asam Laksa, Wantan Mee, Teh Tarik, Satay Celup etc. What impresses me the most is the multiculturalism in Malaysia which makes me agree with this sentence: “regardless of our differences, we are all the same”. I love this so much.

Finally, studying at IMU have driven me to be a better person because I am surrounded by experts who are good in their academic areas, especially pharmaceutical science. IMU’s students are also very nice, hard-working and productive in their work. From them, I have learnt to manage my time to do intense research within only 4 months. This is really challenging for me, but my time management skill has slightly improved. IMU Student Mobility Programme provides opportunity for a Thai student to gain more research experience. Malaysia has always been one of my travel destinations. I have not thought that this would happen in the near future until I came here. I started to walk around the urban areas, such as Pavilion Mall, KLCC Park, Sunway Pyramid, Mid Valley etc. After that I had an opportunity to join a hiking event at Broga Hills which was organised by the Eco Friends Club of IMU. I really enjoyed this activity because it is one of my favorite activities. Besides, I also went to Batu Caves with Apiwat, and May Kuan Ming Gal who is always kind and nice to me. Lastly, I went to Malacca with my colleagues. We traveled around both the historical city and the seaside. Although I have not yet visited that many places in Malaysia, I would say that this journey is definitely worth it.

Finally, I would like to thank A/Prof Ng Chew Hee, Dr Khaw Loke Tim, Dr Murugesh Kandasamy, Dr Hira Choudhury, Janice Lai, all my group members, and all postgraduate students for their kind assistance and suggestions. I am very honored to have done the Mobility Programme here.

We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to Thitiya for taking time out to answer our questions.

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