September 16, 2019, by Alice Kong

My NUMed Summer Exchange Internship 2019

During the summer holiday in 2019, I participated in a research internship located in Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia (NUMed). As an exchange student, this was a unique opportunity for me to get out of my comfort zone and work in an unfamiliar environment.

The first week was planned as an introductory to familiarize me with the working environment, research project and colleagues. During this period, I was welcomed by Professor Baldwin (CEO and provost of NUMed) and Dr. Madihah (Dean of Biomedical Sciences). Additionally, laboratory induction was also given by Dr. Roshan (Assistant Dean of Biomedical Sciences) as well as Miss Mardhiah (lab technician). Furthermore, a campus tour was given by the NUMed interns.

Prior to my project, I was grateful to be a participant of “MinIon sequencing workshop” led by Dr. Kishor from Newcastle University UK. MinION is a portable device which can provide real-time DNA and RNA sequencing. During the workshop, Dr. Kishor demonstrated the procedures to isolate DNA, conduct PCR, and sequence 16S rRNA amplicon.

Group photo with the participants of MinION sequencing workshop.

My research title is “Screening and identification of multidrug-resistant Escherichia coli bacteria from wastewater treatment plants in Johor”. I had a meeting with Dr Jeyanthy (supervisor of the project) and the NUMed research team which comprised of Jia Yee, Sylvia, Winnie and Naveen. After informing me about the details of the research, they advised me to do some background reading regarding antibiotic resistance, wastewater treatment plants, and E. coli.

Me in my cubicle working space. Literature review and background study is an essential part of research.

In the beginning of my research, I isolated antibiotic-resistant E. coli from samples originated from different wastewater treatment plants in Johor. Subsequently, antibiotic susceptibility testing was conducted. In addition to that, PCR was also carried out to detect the presence of antibiotic resistance genes. At the end of my project, I was required to do a PowerPoint presentation about the background, process and outcome of my research.

In a nutshell, this summer internship was a fruitful experience for me. From this internship opportunity, I was able to gain vital knowledge regarding microbiology and molecular biology. Moreover, my involvement in this project also allowed me to improve my laboratory and analytical skills. I have learned to troubleshoot based on undesired results. I also learned that work planning and time management play a crucial role in a research project.

I would like to express my gratitude towards the NUMed staffs for their guidance and assistance throughout the project. Lastly, I would like to thank Dr. Fang for his assistance during my application for this position.

Group photo with lab technician, research assistants and other summer interns in NUMed lab social area.

Photo with research assistants and other summer interns on the last day of the summer internship.

[We had our ups and downs, but at the end of the day, everything is a great learning experience.]

Article by: Wong Gordon (UNM BMS student who did summer internship exchange to NuMed)

Posted in BMSInternshipUncategorized