It was an unforgettable experience for Tan Yi Jun Desmond and Yee Li En when they were selected to conduct research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School.
The third year Doctor of Medicine (MD) students from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS), UCSI University returned from Harvard in August after advancing intercalated research programmes for a year.
Tan Yi Jun Desmond, 22, said that he conducted research that primarily focuses on risk allele that contributed to hypertension and cardiovascular disease under the Intercalated Research Programme at the renowned university since August last year.
“I did a research on hypertension and cardiovascular disease. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the labs were closed, and our project was put on hold until we are allowed to enter the lab again,” said Tan, who conducted research on hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
“We worked from home since then but prior to COVID-19 outbreak, I felt lucky being able to work alongside well-educated professionals that were willing to share their knowledge and experience,” he added.
The alumnus of SMK Tunku Putra expressed that his experience in Boston was an eye-opening experience that has fuelled his determination to become a medical practitioner in Malaysia.
“I hope that I can practise the medical knowledge that I have obtained from my studies to treat future patients with confidence apart from contributing to the nations’ medical development.
“I believe that the revolution of the medical world that involves the importance of research needs a continuous effort from generation to generation and I hope that it starts from our generation,” said the Batu Pahat, Johor-born student.
For Yee, 22, her experience at Harvard was also an extraordinary one although she had to change her original plan to work on her new genetic combination research when the lockdown was implemented between March and May.
“It was a challenging period and I was supposed to start research on animals. But due to COVID-19, I had to stay at home and learn online.
“During the period, I learnt various online data analysis software and genetic analytical programming languages. When we were not allowed to enter the laboratory, I had to change my research plan into human statistical data analysis instead,” she said.
Yee hopes to explore and stay in different parts of the world to experience different ethnics and cultures.
She also aspires to contribute her expertise by collaborating with other experts in Malaysia towards the nations’ future medical development.
Since 2014, UCSI University has sent two medical students to Harvard University every year and to date, nine students have been selected for the research programme.