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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

summary of learning experience in the UK

My alma mater invited me to submit an article for their newsletter. As mentioned ages ago, that i would like to share learning experience in the UK as well as reasons to study here, and also advice to future postgraduate, students who wish to study abroad, etc. Therefore, I have decided to publish the same article here. :-p

Information about Master degree at Glasgow

Glasgow and the UK:

Why did you choose to study in the UK?

I have decided to study in a UK-based university mainly due to the strong research culture, quality of education and standard of education offered. Also, it only spent one year for me to complete a master degree here.

Why you choose to study at Glasgow/ Scotland?

Glasgow University is one of the few institutions that offer various/ diverse research areas in plant science. This university is recognised as one of the leading universities in the research and academic performances (founded in 14th century, 4th oldest institution in the English spoken country, top 100 universities in the world).

Also, Scotland is a lovely place that has a lot of natural sceneries, historical sites and also mixtures of modern and classical buildings. The design and architecture of these buildings are impressive. Besides, life here is relaxing, enjoyable. Glasgow is one of the big cities in the UK, and I have many opportunities to mix/ interact with people throughout the world. People here are nice, helpful.

Your course:

Why did you choose your course—plant science?

My principal research interest lies in the field of plant stress (abiotic and biotic) and the tolerance mechanisms involved. The availability of research experts in this field and also the reputation of plant science group of Glasgow University have prompted me to purse plant science master degree here. My postgraduate study at Glasgow University has provided excellent skills needed to pursue a research career in Plant Science in the future.

What’s the best thing about your course?

This course has introduced me to state-of-the-art experimental approaches and techniques that were required in my research. Further training gained through close supervision from post-docs include forward planning skills as well as design proper experiment and analysis on data obtained from the project. Also, taught modules have given details about recent advances in Plant Science. While weekly research seminars from both divisional and external speakers as well as workshops attended (literature research skills, bibliographic software trainings, etc) have developed my intellectual skills.

Meanwhile, participation in the journal club discussion, taught me presentation skills and to critically discuss findings from the journal. Similarly, research presentation allowed me to discuss project works, trigger new ideas, and improve communication skills. I also have the opportunity to discuss my research works with academic/research staffs here, which are highly regarded as expert in their field of study.

Other than carry out my own research, I also have opportunity to involve in other research projects and publish some interesting results in journals.

Recently one of the research works I involved has been accepted to be published on Plant Journal (impact factor = 6.5), journal which ranked top 10 in Plant Science category. A co-authorship in a high impact peer-review paper will be an excellent kick-start in research career.

Besides, another project I involved at Glasgow is currently being assessed; hopefully I manage to publish second paper as well.

What’s your non-academic commitment in Glasgow?

By involving myself as a volunteer in International Advisory Group, Career Service of Glasgow University, I have various opportunities to work several projects with other international students, improve communication and leadership skills. Also, I have gain various information about the study/ career opportunities in the UK, Europe and even the world.

In addition, I am a volunteer in the e-mentor programme of Glasgow’s student network. I joined e-mentor programme due to the opportunity to interact with new/ prospective students, and share my experiences as an international student here.

What would you change?

Improve English speaking skills, dare to face challenges, confident. Life as a postgraduate is challenging, my master degree at Glasgow trained me to plan and manage time effectively

What advantages will your education give you?

I am aiming to pursue a career in research and academia with special reference to evaluate the impacts of environmental stress on plant growth and tolerance mechanisms involved. I wish to focus on this aspect as environmental stress is a contributing factor to low productivity in crops and subsequently causes famine and low income among poor farmers in the developing world. An excellent master training will serve as a stepping stone for me to purse doctorate degree in the future.

About PhD at Exeter University, England, UK.

What reason prompted me to pursue research in Plant Stress Tolerance?

Global famine/ potential food insecurities in the future. The impact of environmental constraints, e.g. abiotic stress (global warming, i.e. high temperature, drought, ) and biotic stress (pathogen infections on crops) further exacerbate this problem.

Some facts:

In developing countries

>800 million individuals short of food supply

1.3 billion people living less than USD 1 a day

Poor farmers: expensive price of herbicide, pesticide

Projected World human population (2050)

rise from 6.1 billion to 9.3 billion

therefore additional 50% of food production is required

* the sufficient production of crops to accommodate needs of world population in the future is under threat!!!

Therefore, understanding the mechanism of stress tolerance in plants and strategy to develop stress tolerant crop are essential to overcome a potential food crisis.

Research summary at Exeter University

Investigating protein and metabolite profiles of model plant, Arabidospsi thaliana in response to biotic and abiotic stresses.

Employ systems biology approach to integrate the resulting protein and metabolite profiles.

Systems Biology is a cutting edge study that using model and / or network to integrate interaction among biological components such as genes, metabolites, and proteins. This study involved experts from various fields such as mathematicians, engineers, bio scientists, etc.

Background of Exeter University:

· The Times Good University Guide ranks Exeter in 9th position.

· Top 5 in the UK for student satisfaction

· Times Higher Education University of the Year 2007/08 · £25 million investment in new laboratories is underway, due for completion by 2010

· The School of Biosciences received substantial funding from the University Science Strategy and now has a next-generation DNA Sequencer and instruments for metabolomics and proteomics research

Your experience & advice:

Any advice for students who wish to pursue postgraduate studies/ study abroad?

Always plan ahead, do more research and seek advice from seniors, families, friends and academician. Also, self-discipline/ motivation, and also proper ways to reduce stress/ challenges are essential.

As researcher, you can’t expect movie every time, some time you have extra academic commitment, therefore self-disciple, great motivation when encountered failure is essential.

I was an average student last time (only fulfil minimum entry requirement to my first degree). However, with the positive attitude and interest on scientific research, I managed to build strong foundation which essential for my research career now.

Remember no matter what you do: PASSION, COMMITMENT, and PROLONGED INTEREST will drive you to achieve goal.

I also shared my life in the UK in the following blogs:-



What are the things that you have enjoyed most about your time here?

Opportunity to meet people across the world (Africa, America, Europe, Asia, etc) knows their culture and life styles.

Strong academic culture

First time I learn how to cook myself, become independent. Opportunity to meet new friend from different courtiers, and try cuisine from their country.

Exciting opportunity travel to many great tourist sports in the UK/ Europe.

Opportunity to visit museums, art galleries which are free-of-charge


Graduation @ UTAR, August 2008


Graduation @ Glasgow University, December 2009





Richard Ling said...

it has been a while since i last came to your blog, dude. =]

happy new year.

cklim said...

haha, true...thanks for your visit ..cheers :-p


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