Ck's Blog in Chinese

For chinese version, please visit blog at the link below:-

Sunday, November 30, 2008

first snow at glasgow :-)

This morning went out to tesco only noticed that a light fall of snow begin. I managed to take some pics outside my accomodation. Will share more pics next time:-

click the icon below to see more pics


Thursday, November 27, 2008

potential approach to overcome alcohol abuse?!

Recent publication in PNAS by a group of US reseachers showed the interaction between BK channels (one of the Ca and K voltage-gated ion channel, i.e. ion channel that opens and closes in response to changes in electrical potential across the cell membrane ) and ethanol treatment.

Results suggested
beta-4 subunit of BK channel could controls ethanol tolerance at the molecular, cellular, and behavioral levels, and could determine individual differences in alcohol abuse and alcoholism.

Information from literature showed that
alcohol abuse is the third largest cause of preventable mortality in the world. With this discovery, researchers can fill in the knowledge gap about pathophysiology of alcoholism, as well as determining potential therapeutic targets for alcohol abuse.

Undeniable alcohol abuse causes a lot of problem, for instance fatal road accidents, assaults and violence and some psychological side effects like increase anxiety and cause depression. It's good to see there is a great breakthrough in this study.

Martin et al. (2008). Identification of a BK channel auxiliary protein controlling molecular and behavioral tolerance to alcohol. PNAS. 105:17543-17548; doi:10.1073/pnas.0801068105

Monday, November 24, 2008

Women’s hands dirtier than their male counterpart?!

Once again, some interesting bioscience research to share. Personally, I think next time I should share some studies in my field, not only focus on health, human biology..haha

Oh my goodness, my first impression, when I read this article from BBC. Really unbelievable, this study also can be a topic of interest. It also prompted me to look for the formal journal published in PNAS, a study carried out by US researchers. Anyway, I can’t find it, and I believe this paper will be published in the next issue.

Basically, this study showed that women have a greater range of different types of bacteria on the palms of their hands than men, besides using powerful gene sequencing techniques, researchers found a typical hand had roughly 150 different species of bacteria living on it.

OK, every research also has its purpose and intention, the significant of this research, according to the researchers:- they hope their work will help scientists to establish a "healthy baseline" of bacteria species on the human hand. This could potentially help them to identify which
species are linked to specific diseases.

Some data obtained in this study:-

1. Detected and identified more than 4,700 different bacteria species across 102 human hands in the study.
2. Only five species were shared among all 51 participants.
3. Even the right and left palms of the same individual shared an average of only 17% of the same bacteria types.
4. On average, women had 50% more bacterial species on their hands than men

So, what caused women had “dirtier?” hand—(no gender discrimination, for knowledge sharing purposes..)

* Acidic skin in men, provide harsh environmental condition for bacteria to survive.
* Differences in sweat, oil gland or hormone production, due to different application of moisturizer, cosmetics by man and woman.

As mentioned by my lecturer last time—Dr. Haresh in medical microbiology course, hand washing still remains as an effective way to minimise the risk of disease, (by using anti-bacterial cleansers, not plain water)

More info, feel free to read this article at BBC

I will share the information from the scientific literature of this publish work. Please bear with CK…

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thanks for all the birthday greetings and some quick and brief updates about ck

Dear all

First of all, I wish to apologise for late replies in all the posts at MSN message, email, friendster, facebook’s wall and so on.

I’m fine here, was celebrated birthday with flatmates one week in advance, and will post these details in my blog soon.

Keep in touch, and wish you guys all the best too.

Any latest happenings about me, feel free to visit my blog at:- Chinese English

choon kiat

The following info are some quick update about me recenlty, or after 2.5 moths in the UK.

--study/ academic/ research--

about my research, so far so good, at least I'm not doing something "sia sui", (or make me felt ashamed), unless some "lui" matters, but not to the extent like at UTAR last time, haha..I just finised the physiology part of my research, will proceed to molecular analysis soon, and quite happy as I got positive feedbacks from both post-doc and supervisor, these definitely will boost my morale.

besides research, I need to take advance courses on Plant Mol. Biology and Plant Botechnology (Next year), and learnt some new things definitely, like what Marccus mentioned in his post, about recent advance technique in sequencing, and I believed I gave a brief and comprehensive comment in his post, for more info feel free to visit it. Undeniable, lecture from both Drs. Alan and Tee helped me a lots..even the lecturer also impress with my understanding in mol. bio.

good news--i passed both IT and radiation protection tests, now this year still have few assessments like essay, presentation. Hopefully can perform well.

whatever I do here, the aim and target is be the only and the best MRes Plant Science student at Glasgow Uni. I will strive for it


Currently work as a part-time waiter for about 2 months at one of the chinese restaurants (will put pictures later), so I am in the semi-working life now, my conclusion is: it's never been easy, not only in proper time management, sometime you will get harsh critics from those so called "managerial" staff. As a student worker, they tend to take more advantages on you, and have great demands on you..anyway, i treat it sounds like mosquito fly beside me, keeps on mumblering. It's really tough sometimes, as you are facing stress at tight deadline in your research, and at the sametime you have to suffer critics from those f*****s. I understand that I'm here to learnt, and willing to accept constructive comments/ opinions and not because when you are moody, or etc..then keep on blaming people. These so-called Chinese or Malaysian even worst than westerner I faced in the UK. Idiot!

Another work, as an un-paid volunteer in the Glasgow Uni. International Career Service Group, our aim is to provide guidance/advice for students at Glasgow Uni. who wish to pursue further study / work in the UK or other foreign country once they completed their degree here. I incharge in blog/facebook session, and recently give a great presentation about the design of this blog..(haha, kiding and blowwater only), will inform you guys about the blog, and hope you will feel free to leave comments& feedbacks to improve arrangement, content of this blog. Since it is unpaid, so benefits are I can have quick assess for resume checking, career advice without any prior appoiment (as it takes 3 weeks for yours turn). Also, I can have a impress and good refree..

--future career planning--

As I mentioned at here and here. Yeap, some facts and realistic issues that worry me. Anyway, some how I have to face it, and do something against the odds. Recently, I read an article written by research fellow from Glasgow Uni, will share with you guys soon..This article really states out the problem/ fact that I knew or my supervisor told me, and I share some similar point of views with him.

Finally, birthday...yup, I celebrated one week in advance with other flatmates. Really happy and touch, will share with you guys later, after arrange all the pics and content for blog. Meanwhile, feel free to see the pic below, a greeting card I got from them. Actually, I took pictures with 2 guys only, but they are so fast, within 5 minutes, can produce a greeting card that showed I took pic with all other friends.

lastly, wish you guys all the best, and keep in touch

Friday, November 21, 2008

Benefit of Internet Use on Human Brain?!

One interesting article i read last month, about the beneficial effect of surfing internet in the reduction of dementia (degenerative of brain). A recent research carried out by the University of California Los Angeles team.

Due to aging, our brain function is progressive decline, and eventually reduce brain tissue, cell's activities. This will cause brain degenerative disease like Alzheimer's disease.

Surfing net will enhance brain circulatory activity, "stimulate" our brain to "work more". Results obtained showed the presence of significant activity in regions of the brain controlling language, reading, memory and visual abilities.

For more information, feel free to read article below:-

** Internet use 'good for the brain' **
For middle-aged and older people at least, using the internet helps boost brain power, research suggests.
< >

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

nice comics to share--really reflect our life as postgraduate

I got this link from one of the bullentins of Glasgow University. Latest comics can get from the following websites:-

Below are some interesting comic (I think) to share with you guys, hope you enjoy it..:-


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Glasgow as one of the world’s top 10 cities

Glasgow has been named as one of the world’s top 10 cities by the travel guide, Lonely Planet in their Travel 2009 booklet.

The other cities in the top 10 were: Antwerp, Beirut, Chicago, Lisbon, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Warsaw and Zurich.

My previous post (in chinese version) gave some brief introduction about the city of Glasgow, but I only introduced the historical sites, parks, etc here. However, this travel guide states:"

Forget castles, kilts, bagpipes and tartan. You come for the cocktails, cuisine and designer chic (plus the legendary native wit)."

"Glasgow has shaken off its shroud of industrial soot and shimmied into a sparkling new designer gown."

Included in the "what's hot" in Glasgow list is actor James McAvoy and pan-fried scallops.

Earlier time, Lonely Planet also publish a guideline for student who wish to study at Glasgow University, for more info feel free to visit the e-version of this booklet:-

As I mentioned in my previous posts, Glasgow is a great place, feel free to visit here in the future. :-)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Library research skill

In my previous post, I mentioned about library research skills is one of the compulsory programmes I have to take part as a postgraduate at Glasgow University. Frankly say, I benefit and learnt a lot from here, filled in knowledge gap I don’t have during my undergraduate studies.

Skills I learnt in this course were proper way to search for journal by using academic database. Evaluate a good journal base on impact factor, citation index, apply Boolean operator like AND, OR, NOT to refine search target, subscribe to article alert, so that we can always update with all the recent published paper which are related to our field of study.

In contrast to my undergraduate life, I always use **google scholar or more advance by science direct. Anyway, this is not the only way, instead we can use academic database like medline, etc. to refine our search, look for paer really for academic purpose, rather than “commercial” paper. What I mean here is some companies might hire researchers to work for them. Therefore, this is always a good idea that we can read/refer article that solely for academic purpose, can give us a fair judgement, and definitely not aligned to certain party.

**I not intend to comment about usefulness of these services, instead with reference to academic database, and then we can have another alternative way to look for scientific literatures.

Besides, I also learnt some features offered by these databases, i.e. refine/ narrow down our search results. For instant, I wish to locate literatures about crop improvement; I can limit the search engine to locate articles which were published in certain period, e.g. last 10 years, or types of paper (review, short communication, journals, publishers, etc.). also, by applying Boolean operator, we can save a lot of time, as we don’t have to look for noon-related

Some new thing I learnt was looking at the quality of a paper based on “impact factor” & “citation index”. Impact factor refer to the influence of that particular journal, e.g. nature & science have considerably high impact factors. Meanwhile, citation index refers to how many people cite this particular paper.

Furthermore, we can subscribe to paper alert by email notification or RSS feed, so we can keep update with latest development and discovery in our field of study. This especially important for PhD student, because they have to ensure their literature review always follow the trend with recent development.

Interestingly, impact factor and citation index also become a common criteria for institution to recruit PhD, post-doc or academic/research staff as well as grant application. So, we should publish quality paper rather than simply publish large volume of paper. I was wondering if I can publish my paper in nature or science, with the fast pace like I published my posts in blog..Then that time I don’t worry about future career already, haha.

Anyway, recent publication in science by Simon (2008) stated about misused of impact factor by some people. Simply because, these black sheep of scientific community do so in order to get advancement in their career.

This training definitely helps me a lot. Unlike my undergraduate studies, when I carried the final year project or practical reports, I just simply searched and downloaded whatever full text available in the internet. These really time-consuming and “labour intensive”,,haha. Unfortunately, no body taught us last time, I think maybe this skill not suitable for undergraduate at the moment.

Anyway, my intention to write this post is to share some experiences I learnt from here, especially to my friends who are still involve in research and academic activites..hope this is helpful, cheers.


SIMONS, K. (2008) The misused impact factor. Science, 322, 165.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

further info about shark antibodies, from the group of researchers

i believe my previous shared story about shark antibodies become a topic of interest, especially the ethical issue of this study, e.g. how "friendly " are the scientists when obtaining blood from sharks? Do they killed sharks or do sharks received any injection or drug prior to the extraction of antibody? What is the bioavailability of this antibody in human body? Any underlying side impacts? Why shark's antibody has special affinity to cancerous cells and so on.

After performed a quick checked by using google, I notice this was a research by scientists at Melbourne's La Trobe University. More infomation, feel free to visit the follwing sites:-

**The post(s) just for sharing purposes, I not responsible for any false/ controversial statements that might arise.

Monday, November 10, 2008

future cancer drug from shark blood?!

This morning i read an article from BBC News feeds by using google reader, and noticed this amazing discovery from researcher in Australia. Basically is about antibodies present in the blood of shark. Ability of shark's antibodies to withstand harsh temperature as well as extreme pH condition have make these compounds become of great interest in cancer research.

Hmmm...,next time when i eat shark porridge, I have to appreciate potential great contribution from shark, haha.

Adapted from BBC News

More info, visit the link below:-
** Shark blood 'offers cancer hope' **
Shark antibodies could be a weapon in the fight against cancer, say Australian scientists.
< >

Friday, November 7, 2008

Ck’s monthly expenses

Before I came to here, several questions asked by my friends were :-
How much is your tuition fee, accommodation fee and living expenses?

Well, for first and second question, normally I don’t answer to them, as you can get this anywhere, i.e. university website, British council, etc. In contrast, living expenses largely depends on individual behaviour.

The projected monthly expenses, provided by Glasgow Uni.:-
Food £170
Clothes £60
Bus, underground, taxi fares £30
Laundry, stationery, stamps, toiletries £30
Entertainment £60

Ck’s expenses—refer diagram below, click figure to enlarge

Posted by Picasa

There’s a great difference between expenses projected by uni, and my living style.

Anyway, living expenses here not really high (don’t perform currency exchange, as pay rate here similar to Malaysia, means if you get 2000MYR as a sales executive, likewise you receive 2000GBP in UK too ); I don’t think I can survive in KL with monthly expenses of 120MYR. Since I work in the weekend, so my wages can sufficiently cover my monthly expenses, some more i can have some balance as savings.

Well, some golden rules in financial planning knowledge, record all your incomes and expenses, save at least 10% of your monthly salary, prepare at least 6 months living expenses as emergency funds, etc. Anyway, ”cakap senang, buat susah” /easy to say, but hard to act, some more I people prefer to key in by using computer rather than record down in a notebook, so CK also share a software for you guys to record down all the transactions involve.

Click the link below to download:


You can go to my personal webpage (still under construction) and download this software

Besides, investment, or other financial instruments as recommended by most people “so called financial planner” nowadays, Other saving tips I read from news feed (info adapted from, Lloyds TSB Savvy Saver-

  • Get a clear understanding of not only your incoming and outgoing, but the exact amount of money you need to live on each week or month. (These are your non-discretionary expenses.) You can only set up an effective saving plan if you have a totally realistic picture of where your money is going and how you use it.
  • Having a clear goal can certainly improve your motivation to save. Some people are saving for major life events, such as such as a house deposit, wedding or retirement, whereas others have shorter term goals such as a holiday or a new car. If you don’t have a tangible goal, set yourself a weekly, monthly, or annual target amount to strive towards.
  • Save up to 10% per year on your electricity bill (and reduce your carbon footprint) by turning your electrical appliances off standby mode
  • Savings in lunch boxes-- making a packed lunch
  • Take a series of low-cost mini holidays instead of one big holiday
  • Don’t buy things just because they’re “bargains”… Always sleep on a decision to buy
  • The skills you use in a hobby or passion could earn you extra cash.
  • Collecting your loose coins is a painless way to save
  • Unnecessary accelerating can increase your petrol consumption by 20%.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My schedule as a postgraduate student at Glasgow University

I think most people know that I’m doing Master of Research (MRes) in Plant Science. Unlike MSc (which is a taught master), MRes is a research based degree + minor advance taught modules.

Well, my routine activities are carry out research in the lab, perform some background readings, search for scientific literatures, update daily lab observation, attend some workshop, seminar, and so on. There is a requirement from research council in the UK, that each researcher has to attend personal development training programme at least 10-hr per year.

Since I completed IT competency skill (passed) and radiation protection course examination (hopefully can pass), so I have nothing much worry about other assessments in this month. I only have to put my effort in research activity.

The info below illustrates my typical life as a postgraduate student here:-

Weekday—Monday to Friday

Wake up at 0600-0630, drink a glass of water (to flux all the toxin later, haha), go toilet and does small business.

Then, start review plans made in the previous day. Turn on laptop, connect to the internet, and do the following tasks:-

Listen to MyFm, read/browse through news feed from google reader. News I subscribed are BBC’s national, Scotland (Glasgow), world, education, science news, Glasgow Uni’s news, Tips on Savvy Saver.

Read news from Malaysia—sin chew jit poh, and nanyang

Read emails: google, yahoo, msn, and uni. Email

Check my blog, reply comment if applicable

06.30: Go toilet and do big business. Read through some scientific journals, check any update/ publication of paper in my field of study. Prepare draft/ outline for my research project (if applicable)

07.30: Bath, breakfast

09.00:If got lab work, then go to Bower Building (my department) otherwise to library. If nothing to do, or lazy, then hangout at home, do some paper work.

**every tuesday, attend talk by divisional speaker in the afternoon, friday talk by external speaker, thursday will attend a research group meeting in the morning at 0915—1100, and will discuss about lab progress, journal discussion, grant review, etc. Right now I attended 2 sessions, and I still the sm individual in this group. (Note: sm stands for silent minority, not sado-masochism, haha). In contrast to life at UTAR, I was nm (noisy minority in the tutorial class). Everyone in the discussion group has critical thinking; they can critic, comment particular journal or grant applications, even though to me, all these papers seem perfect.

Hopefully, I can learn these from them, and in the future I can belong to the group of “noisy majority”..haha

About lab work, I still in the initial stage now, and not really busy, but my lab skills really poor, terrible. Really “sia sui” and my utar lab partners—like tan sri, kimochi, fb, et al.

The reasons were due to the inconvenient I am facing, as I’m a left- handed person, and most equipments are not so “friendly” to me, and some new techniques that I not so familiar with. Really have to apologise to my lab technician, because of my lousy skills, she has to work “OT”..:-(

That’s my life from Monday-Friday, badminton session begin after few weeks, and will go there if have time. Then mostly stay in the lab from 0900 to 1800. Then, back to home, check mailbox first, and then prepare dinner. Night, perform similar task as in the morning, also read others' blog, browse facebook, frenster, etc. as well as review daily plan and plan agenda for the next day.

Recently I just joined as a volunteer in career service department of Glasgow Uni, hope I can share my experience/skill/"expertise" to other international students who are intending to pursue postgraduate studies in the UK or find job in the UK. I will publish some posts about career deveplopment I learnt here in the future.

Normally sleep at 2300/0000

Well, life in the weekend almost the same, I wake up as usual. Maybe there’re some different tasks like go to tesco/ supermarket and buy some food materials, wash cloth at laundry service, chat with family, financial planning, prepare blog entries or join trips organise by international student society. Then, in the evening, I have part-time employment.

Life as a postgraduate student here very flexible, unlike my other friends who’re doing taught master, they have to attend lecture, group assignment, and tutorial and so on. However, research postgraduate must be very independent, and don't ever envy with ck’s honeymoon life here. This is because my course only last for 1 year, so this is a very intensive programme. Besides study, research, & work, I still have to deal with other matters, i.e. prepare PhD proposal, fellowship application, post-study work visa, etc. all these seem tough and challenging, but ck’s philosophy in dealing a matter is :“ no matter what you do, as long as you have commitment, passion and prolong interest in it, then you should be able reach your goal.”

Finally, I would like to conclude my typical life here is pack, simple, & systematic. Also, typical life for “nerd” like me la..:-) Anyway, these are my own way of life, and it doesn’t reflect other postgraduate lifestyle..haha

Saturday, November 1, 2008

ck's research

I have been here for so long, sharing experiences on fun, travel, etc. Now is the time for me to share some academic life at Glasgow University.

I’m doing MRES (MASTER OF RESEARCH) here, specifically designed for students who wish to pursue doctoral program in the future. This is a combine taught and research programme. Whereby research projects accounts for 80% of the study. Taught courses such as: advance plant molecular and plant biotechnology. Other types of master degree are MPHIL, MSC, and so on. As British Research Council required researchers to attend at least 10 hours of training, so
sometimes we have to involve in a number of seminars, talks and so on, and transferable skills trainings.

I carry out research on crop improvement here, mainly through genetic modification; so my research interests focus in the areas like agriculture and plants science. Actually, crop improvement is a broad area of research. Anyway, I carry out a novel study here, and is a funded project (about 3 years 230,000 pounds.) (However, this provision has nothing to do with me).

In this study, I will need to apply knowledges and skills such as: genetic, molecular biological, physiology, plant cell and tissue cultivation, bio-informatics and so on.

Since this study involve a lot of P&C matters, so I just briefly describe this research. In agricultural practice, farmers have been aware that the application of special "treated” seeds can have better production and growth rates in the future. Treatments applied are such as addition of chemicals, or provide some pressures - (high concentration of salt, drought exposure and so on.) to these seeds.

These exposures will stimulate them, and plants are able to withstand these challenges when they encounter any stresses in the future (high temperature, cold, drought, viruses, etc), to the calm in the face. This response similar to the human body defence system. I.e. memory B cells, upon exposure to virus/bacterial invasions in the first time, they will response better in the future, able to recognise quicker, etc.

I will observe and identify what factors make plants have such memory, specifically study on their gene and molecular levels. In the future, we could apply knowledge obtained (if discover something) which enables plants to have this capability possibly by GM, so important crops can resist to severe environmental challenges. Anyway, another university, have begun a similar study. For more info, can click on the following Web site:

Meanwhile, I also had a conversation with my supervisor, regarding my intention to purse doctorate degree in the future, as well as the availability of research funds for foreign students like me. Anyway, my supervisor told me the fact that in the UK, there are a lot of funds, but most of them are allocated to local students. Even if the fund is awarded to international students, such as living stipends (about 1300-1600GBP) and tuition subsidies, we still have to settle the international student tuition fees (Note: International students tuition fees are 4 times of local students’ rate!). As a result, I have to deal with the remaining 70% of the tuition fees. That’s why a lot of excellent international students were “forced” to leave the UK and study elsewhere. This is one of the reasons cause my supervisor so "DU LAN", and frustrated with it.

Although some research councils also provide scholarships to cover tuition fees for the remaining 70%, but there are very competitive, and mostly funds are awarded to people carry out research/studies of their interest. At present, Europe and the United Kingdom are not encountered with food crisis, agricultural problems.

They concerned about studies on epidemiology, infection diseases, and so on or other issues that have great impacts to them. E.g. diseases for “developed and rich countries ”(like cancer, diabetes,) study. So, I think this is a reason that the University of Glasgow, has about 100 bio-medical graduates, almost 70% from India this year; and I’m the only plant science graduate student, ha ha, really a strange & unique species. However, I believe this area also crucial as well, due to effects of global warming, food crisis face by many developing and underdeveloped countries. It’s never been too late to plan ahead and find out the solutions, as these problems eventually will affect everyone in the world.

Undeniable, this society is very “realistic”, and frankly say I quite bother and worry about this. Anyway, since ck is a “tough” person and will never bow to reality! I believe that every challenge has its solution, and we should think in a positive way. Provided we have commitment, passion and prolong interest, and determination. Then, we can handle it well. Furthermore, supports from relatives, friends, and family, I am confident to overcome it.

Finally, I would not regret to carry out plant and agricultural studies. Also, decline the offers from other universities to do doctorate research. :-)

By the way, the following photo is my graduate school and location of research lab - (BOWER BUILDING), was established in 1901 Unfortunately, fire occured in it's 100th anniversary, and left only the walls, the loss of millions of pounds. Besides, literatures before the 19th centuryalso burned, and it took 3 years for the plant science research group to recover.

click the link below for pictures/facilities of my research lab, :-

I checked from the BBC site, about news happened in 2001. If you guys are interested, can visit the following websites:-

** University fire: picture gallery **
News Online user Ewan Crawford captures the events as firefghters tackle a huge blaze at Glasgow University.
< >

** Firework link to university blaze **
Firefighters investigate whether a stray firework caused a multi-million pound blaze in a University of Glasgow building.
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