February 16, 2021, by Lee Mei Kee
Alumni Testimonial – Zhi Yuan Kok (2016)
This article is written by Zhi Yuan Kok, MPharm 2+2 (Class of 2016).
“Indeed, such a feat could not be possible without the input from various experts in the field of pharmacology, pharmacokinetics and pharmaceutics, to which I gained exposure during the MPharm degree at UoN, allowing me to work better collaboratively within the team.”
MPharm and Ph.D. degree from the University of Nottingham (UoN)
Where are you working currently?
I am currently working as a scientist hunting for new drugs at a contract research organisation based in Nottingham.
Why did you decide to study MPharm at University of Nottingham Malaysia? How has your degree prepared you for your career?
My decision to study pharmacy was influenced by a mix of personal interest in pursuing science as a career and the safety net a pharmacy degree provides in terms of employment and livelihood. The UoN as a whole is one of the best institutions globally in the field of pharmacy and pharmacology, as well as the opportunity to spend two years in the UK campus have influenced my decision to enrol in the MPharm (2+2) course at the University of Nottingham Malaysia. The MPharm course prepares its students to be specialists in the safe and effective use of medicines and generalists in the science behind medicines, which in turn provide a broad perspective of the healthcare/pharmaceutical industry and the various roles involved in providing the general public access to efficacious medicines. After securing the prestigious Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship for Research Excellence, I subsequently transitioned to my doctoral studies under the supervision of Prof. Barrie Kellam, Dr. Shailesh Mistry and Prof. Steve Hill, working on fluorescent compounds for the histamine H1 receptor.
As a medicinal chemist, I aspire to discover new drugs for the various unmet clinical needs of today. This involves the design, synthesis and evaluation of target compounds based on medicinal chemistry knowledge, existing data and computational modelling. This process is repeated until a clinical candidate is obtained for clinical trials and hopefully an efficacious treatment available to the general public. Indeed, such a feat could not be possible without the input from various experts in the field of pharmacology, pharmacokinetics and pharmaceutics, to which I gained exposure during the MPharm degree at UoN, allowing me to work better collaboratively within the team.
What did you love most about your student life?
Inarguably the best student experience I had at UoN was during the last two years of the MPharm course, where I got to live in an entirely different country and culture, and especially the ease to travel around Europe. There were no doubt challenges along the way. Despite having spent several years in the UK, I still do not appreciate winter in the UK with all its drizzle and gloom but having close friends and good food around definitely helped.
What is your advice to prospective and current MPharm students?
To all prospective and current MPharm students: EXPLORE – ‘what do you enjoy most? What do you want to do in life? Is there a gap in the current field of knowledge that needs to be addressed? If there is, how?’ and remember that the world is your oyster.
See Zhi Yuan’s previous article on his postgraduate study on https://blogs.nottingham.ac.uk/pharmacy/2017/09/28/calling-it-a-year/?fbclid=IwAR2xmO25LXu93fUqFh4MA0W-IiVeJwCkYBlqqMOQNCm9zHE0Y5mIcKM1ulQ