While many poly students relish the real world experience that an internship provides, Poh Jun Jie and Chan Weng Tat took it a step further – they each went on to publish their research in scientific journals. What’s even more interesting is that both were mentored by another Biotechnology alumnus, Dr Samuel Gan, during the internship at A*Star. Dr Gan is a team leader at A*STAR. Weng Tat and Jun Jie graduated in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
When asked what his thoughts about publishing his first paper were, Weng Tat shared that there was a lot of work that went on behind the scenes for over a year before the paper was finally released.
“A lot of help and input was required from the supervisors, as well as cross-checking with other parties before sending the paper for review prior to publishing. Should the paper be rejected, the entire paper must be changed in term of fonts, format, diagrams, word count etc to fit the requirements of another journal for the paper to be published,” he says.
Weng Tat thrives on the challenges of experiments, which he feels is a journey into the unknown. “There is no certainty to the results of each experiment even when repeated several times and the researcher often needs to troubleshoot on his own to narrow down the factors influencing the results.”
Jun Jie’s first taste of research was when he participated in the Differential Research Programme at the School of Applied Science. He says that research can be frustrating, buy nothing beats the thrill of successfully troubleshooting a problem.
“At the poly, modules such as Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering, Applied Microbiology, Molecular Biology and Recombinant Technology and my internship at A*STAR Bioinformatics Institute at the Antibody and Product Development (APD) lab provided me with the opportunity to work independently on real research projects.
Time flies fast in the lab – I really enjoy it! In research, I often face challenges like "why doesn’t the experiment go the way I want?" In order to overcome these challenges, I will be forced to think out of the box. Every day is a learning day. What’s more exciting is that I know I am doing something for the betterment and enhancement of human lives.
I have been offered a place to Major in Biological Sciences at Nanyang Technological University. With this achievement of having two first authorship research papers, I will apply for the A*STAR Scholarship and I would like to study Life Science in University College London or Imperial College London after my National Service. Upon completion of my degree, I wish to return to APD lab of A*STAR Bioinformatics Institute under the guidance of Dr Gan to carry on my scientific career in Antibody Engineering or cancer research.”