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Going abroad: My insightful internship in Paris

13th November, 2020

Magdalene Teoh Sook Han was always interested in biology and chemistry, resulting in her wanting to explore and study a degree programme with both subjects together. Besides that, she also wanted a course that could provide her with a wide job scope.

This has led her to consider pursuing her undergraduate studies in Pharmaceutical Chemistry. In addition, the modules in the Pharmaceutical Chemistry programme intrigued her and the drive that she could potentially discover and formulate new drugs, sealed the deal.

“As part of the IMU Pharmaceutical Chemistry programme, I had the opportunity to undergo my industrial attachment under the Chemistry Department at the Sorbonne University – Ecole Normale Supérieure, Biomolecules Lab in Paris, France for 8 weeks from 6 January 2020 – 7 March 2020. At this internship, I worked as a research assistant under the supervision of Dr Nicolas Delsuc and Koudedja Coulibaly; a final year PhD student. I worked on Koudedja’s research project which was aimed to synthesise a catalase mimic in the form of a peptide-metal complex.”

“I must say that the studies in the Pharmaceutical Chemistry course made it easier to adapt to this internship programme as it is mainly research based. The programme provided a strong foundation in technical skills, knowledge and exposure which facilitated better understanding with regards to most of the research that I was conducting.”

During this internship, Magdalene feels that she has learnt a lot, mainly in the usage of various scientific instruments. One of it was the Clark electrode, which is an instrument that measures electrical signals emitted during a reaction. This instrument was used to detect oxygen that was released during the breakdown of hydrogen peroxide.

Magdalene admitted that the main challenge that she faced was her inexperience with the handling of instruments used during laboratory work. However, after noting down all that was briefed about the instrument and seeking help, she was finally able to address the problems faced while using them.

Another challenge that she faced was the accent of the people around her, although they were able to speak English. Therefore, she realised that she sometimes had to pause and take a while to understand what they are trying to convey. However, this was just a minor issue, which she overcame by constantly asking questions and seeking proper clarification.

“It is a great opportunity to be able to work in state-of-the-art labs with advance equipment and I was able to experience different working cultures.

The pharmaceutical chemistry degree from IMU is accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), UK. The course is undertaken entirely at IMU and completed in three years (6 semesters). Upon completion of the degree, graduates can enter the workforce and begin their career as chemists in pharmaceutical and other chemical industries. The programme also offers credit transfer options to bachelor’s degree in the University of Dundee.

After obtaining the IMU BSc (Hons) Pharmaceutical Chemistry degree, those who meet the academic criteria can also continue to pursue the Master of Pharmacy programme at the University of Sydney or Curtin University in Australia. They are given credit exemptions in the Master of Pharmacy programmes. The graduates of the Master of Pharmacy degrees from these universities can register as practicing pharmacists in Australia and Singapore, but not in Malaysia currently.

The commencement of this programme is in February, July and September of each year. If you are interested to join this programme, make an online application via our website, www.imu.edu.my.

If you have just completed your SPM and do not have pre-university qualification, consider enrolling in the one-year IMU Foundation in Science (FiS), the direct route for entry into any of the University’s degree programmes.

For more information, please refer to www.imu.edu.my or email: start@imu.edu.my or call IMU at 03 – 2731 7272.

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