STEM mini exhibition and genomics workshop in Kota Bharu

27 February 2019

When we look at the word “Genomics”, what first comes into mind? Genes! That’s right! Although at first glance, we may not know what it means but when we look at the root word “gene”, we can get a brief idea that the study is related to genes one way or the other.

Through genomics, we are able to gain more insight into gene structure, function and evolutionary origin of the organism as well as explore novel scientific questions. Undeniably, it has contributed in many scientific discoveries and breakthrough in the field of medical and plant sciences.

The most recent genomics advancement is the discovery of a gene editing tool called CRISPR-Cas9 system in which the faulty gene sequences of a plant or animal can be corrected thus offering great potential in curing diseases that were incurable in the past.

Genomics is one of the quickest growing areas of biomedical science with the most in-demand jobs. There are many career opportunities in genomics such as biomedical engineers, agricultural scientists and computational biologists. Healthcare scientist is another example that is most common and popular among students.

Overall, the career prospects in the field of genomics is wide and the skills obtained from studying genomics can be applied in many industries related to health, animal, human, plant and environment.

To get a career in genomics, we have to start with the basics. Dr Song Beng Kah made sure that students get their understanding on the subject through a mini STEM exhibition and genomics workshop that he organised at SMJK Chung Hwa and SMJK Chung Cheng on 27th and 28th February in Kota Bharu.

In the workshop, Dr Song included a heated three-part competition where students had to do a genomics quiz, assemble a DNA sequence and also construct a phylogenetic tree. The competition is said to help students better understand how a long DNA sequence can be obtained through overlapping smaller DNA sequences, and illustrate an example of genetic analysis that scientists use to check genetic differences in human population.