Ho Jinn Shyuan
PhD in Biomedical Sciences
Share with us the story of your postgraduate journey.
I am Biomedical Science graduate from the University of Nottingham Malaysia in 2018. During my undergraduate studies, I was involved in extensive laboratory works to produce results for my final year project (FYP). This somehow ignited a spark in me. PhD journey is like a large “FYP” with bigger challenges and rewards. For instance, being rewarded with prize money for conference by the faculty after winning the Grand Prize of 1-minute Rapid Fire Competition to pitch about my research project. Along the postgraduate journey, I found myself getting more resilient and steadier in coping uncertainties and challenges, especially during COVID-19 pandemic.
How did you choose this course and institution?
After getting my undergraduate degree, I started looking around available postgraduate opportunities and came across project advertisement on UNM website. This project looked interesting and the supervisor was one of the lecturer taught me during undergraduate. By having the working experience in UNM laboratories, I decided to accept the offer. Fortunately, this position comes with full tuition fee waiver scholarship and stipend is provided.
What research are you currently pursuing?
Despite having a Biomedical Science degree, I considered the techniques learnt from my current project could be of use in Biomedical Science research. My current research project focuses on plant pathology and molecular biology. This project is funded by Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS), collaborated with the Malaysia Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI), researching on the banana plant immunity affected by banana wilt disease under effective biological control protection. The project outcome is expected to provide a good understanding in banana plant immunity that helps in establishing effective disease management plans for banana wilt diseases.
Choosing your supervisor
Choosing supervisor is very important as they are those whom you will closely engage for your project. Having good research background and supervision experience are one of those important criteria. Different supervisors have different supervision style and it is good to find one that suits your working style. Another tip is seeking opinions from the postgraduate students who work under the potential supervisor so that you could foresee your PhD journey before joining.
Postgraduate studies and your career
A PhD degree might be overqualified in job hunting and I thought academic will be the only option. Along the journey, I realised there are necessities of postgraduates in R&D industry with good career development. Experiencing postgraduate life before working could be different but the soft skills gained are also useful in working life. Postgraduate life is turbulent and can be a struggle. They have low salary compared to working peers at the same age. Someone who has been in working life may need to consider life planning before getting a postgraduate degree.
What is your favourite part about your postgraduate degree?
Having inspiring supervisors and wonderful lab mates! Not to forget having the chance to work with MARDI personnel. It was an unforgettable and valuable experience.
If you could change anything about your postgraduate journey, what would you do differently?
I would tell myself to be less worrying as it is normal that things happen unexpectedly. Despite there are ups and downs, just be brave and steady to surf the wave, you will reach the end one day.