I am Dominic Kay, a Stage 2 Biomedical Science (BMS) student. I began my university life as a BMS student in Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia (NUMed) on 28th September 2015. The reason I chose this course was because ever since high school, Biology has always fascinated me. I love carrying out science experiments, especially those involving animals and plants! I was also a Civil Defence Cadet and had the opportunity to learn about various first-aid equipment and techniques including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), foreign-body airway obstruction (FBAO) or choking management, poison management etc. During my A-Levels, I discovered my strong interest in doing cancer research, which led me to enroll into BMS.

 

Biomedical Science: The (Not So) Basics

The BMS syllabus includes numerous modules. I was particularly hooked with the genetics, anatomy, and pharmacology modules. This is because apart from the lectures, we are given the opportunity to apply our knowledge in the wet lab sessions, getting hands-on experience in learning various techniques such as the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and western blotting. This allows me to develop not only experimental skills that are required in the lab, but also many other soft skills such as time management and teamwork with other group members. All in all, these will shape me into a future competent biomedical and biomolecular scientist.

NUMed’s lecturers are exceptionally helpful and efficient. I once e-mailed a lecturer to ask a question at midnight, and unexpectedly, he replied the e-mail within five minutes! Also, with only 22 Stage 2 BMS students in total, the BMS cohort in NUMed is comparably much smaller than that of the other courses. This enhances the interaction between students and lecturers, making the lecturers highly approachable. The lecturers even know every one of us by name. Despite the small cohort and having international students amongst us, including Esme from the United Kingdom, Chandralekha from Singapore, and Gloria from Indonesia, we have no issues adapting and integrating together.

 

Fun and Responsibilities Amidst Studies

Moreover, as the Chair of the Student-Staff Committee (SSC), I chaired a meeting in 2016 to bring up and discuss course-related and facilities-related issues faced by students. This is a beneficial platform for students to voice out their opinions on various areas of their experience here in NUMed. Through this platform, staff can take note of areas that were done well and of areas which require further improvement.

Personally, I enjoy hiking, mountain-biking, and jogging. Therefore, I took the post as President of Outdoor Adventure Club for 2 consecutive years. Till today, we have organised two hiking trips to Mt. Lambak and a rock-climbing trip at Rockworld. These activities were aimed to foster teamwork and build long-lasting relationships amongst NUMedians, to promote health, and to provide opportunities for NUMed students and lecturers to develop into a more holistic and all-rounded human being. So far, our activities have yielded positive outcomes, and it is most heartwarming to see lecturers and students bonding together, contributing to the formation of the “NUMed Family”.

 

My Passion, My Goal…

My passion for cancer research was further strengthened as I learned about my mother’s breast cancer diagnosis just recently. Never had I been so close to cancer before. Now, I have learned a lot more about cancer and the horrible side effects of chemotherapy. I am convinced that the situation could improve tremendously with the existence of more targeted therapies with fewer side effects. I aspire to contribute in cancer research as a biomedical scientist, to bring forward the day when all cancer can be cured.

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Dominic Kay

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