Multiple options for graduates

4 March 2019

As published by The Sun (Malaysia) on 13 November 2018

Professor Chow Sek Chuen

A good university education equips students with transferable skills that can be used in their future careers, suggesting that even if students are not trained in a particular field, they can still catch up and do the job when the opportunity arises.

For this reason, Biomedical Science Professor Chow Sek Chuen encourages his students to think outside the box, and not limit themselves to just a career within the medical bioscience field.

“Students can work in other areas of science if they want to. It is a matter of how they use the transferable skills taught, and how far they want to go,” said the professor at the School of Science, Monash University Malaysia.

Many assume medical bioscientists only work in hospital laboratories, usually in the background providing a supporting role, helping medical doctors run test samples and diagnose diseases, or carrying out clinical trial studies for new drugs or treatments. However, this is only a small area in which they can build their career.

Medical bio-scientists can also get involved in many other exciting areas. A popular one is toxicology. This is where scientists study and characterise the toxicity of drugs or poisons, and try to understand how it affects our physiology, health, and immune system.

Graduates can also choose to work in a pharmaceutical company, where their main responsibilities may include the introduction and selling of new novel drugs; for better disease treatments to medical doctors; or they can also be trained as equipment or product specialists, selling and servicing specialised equipment for diagnostics or treatment to clinics and hospitals.

Career prospects can also be found in government regulatory bodies, to protect and promote public health and safety through the implementation of proper regulations. For those with a flair for language and are interested in writing, they can become a scientific writer or journalist for newspapers, scientific magazines and pharmaceutical companies.

“With science, hands-on laboratory sessions are very important in the learning process. It provides students an opportunity to explore the practical implications of their disciplines. This in turn develops problem-solving and critical thinking skills. It also exposes students to equipment in the laboratory, preparing them for high-technology careers,” Chow explained.

In the Bachelor of Medical Bioscience programme, students have to complete a compulsory internship programme, which is mostly at hospitals and private pathology laboratories. Chow shared that he is looking beyond the current options, to allow students to gain a more varied experience.

“We are working at securing internships in other employment settings as well as biotechnology companies. This will give students a chance to see the different career prospects available to them,” he said.

The medical bioscience field is relatively new, having evolved from the traditional biochemistry discipline that Chow did in his first degree. “Today, Medical Bioscience is probably one of the broadest areas of modern science in universities around the world, blending various medically related disciplines together,” he said.

The Bachelor of Medical Bioscience is the flagship course in the School of Science at Monash University Malaysia and will continue to remain so.

“We cannot be complacent, we will continue to move with the times, update, and change according to the expectations of the industry as well as what parents and students are looking for,” Chow said.

For more information, visit science.