Nov 25 2021

Studying Medicine is more than just learning the wonders of the human body. It allows you to explore the frontier of current scientific knowledge through research. Next after patient care, research plays a fundamental role in the life of a medical student. A good research experience allows you to develop the tools and techniques that are helpful to the patients and establish guidelines that aid decision-making as a physician.

Medical students at RCSI & UCD Malaysia Campus (RUMC) are given opportunities to pursue research interests as early as during their Pre-Clinical Years at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) or University College Dublin (UCD).

Through the Research Summer School programme, students gain wholesome experience in research techniques, plan and execute an experimental strategy to answer scientific research questions. The summer research module is conducted approximately for eight weeks where students undertake supervised research projects.

The importance of conducting research is also well-recognised at the university’s Penang campus where it emphasises students’ participation in research through various events and activities.

According to Dr Tan May Loong, RUMC’s Vice Dean of Research, the best way to learn about research is to be involved in it.

“At RUMC, getting involved in research includes joining a research team in Dublin during summer breaks, learning to understand research evidence through our evidence-based medicine module and exploring research on your own or with a team post-graduation with our Junior Research Fellowships,” said Dr Tan.

Final year medical student, Kevin Chan Weng Kit had been actively involved in research since his Pre-Clinical days at RCSI. Kevin took a year off after completing his third year to intercalate a Master’s Degree in Clinical Neuroscience at King’s College London. His research interest is neuroscience – specifically motor neurone disease (MND), which was the major focus of his Master’s dissertation.

“I have always been keen on research, as it is opposed to medicine. While medicine is very much evidence-based, research is all about creating the evidence in the first place,” said Kevin.

The same goes for Fathima Sarah Atheer, a 4th-year medical student at RUMC who began her journey in research during her Pre-Clinical Years in Dublin.

Inspired by the idea of COVID-19 having a significant psychological impact on people, Sarah worked with a perinatal psychiatrist, Dr Richard Duffy, from Rotunda Hospital Dublin, Ireland and worked on her research paper during the summer of 2020.

“Ultimately, we gathered a team to work on the research that we have now published. We hope that our study would help lay a stepping stone towards the right direction of raising awareness and acknowledging the presence of the unseen distresses that people face,” said Sarah.

Kevin and Sarah were the prize winners of RUMC Research Day held on 31 July 2021 and they were sponsored to present their papers at the International Undergraduate Medical Research Conference (IUMRC) on 2 and 3 November 2021.

“IUMRC was my first virtual international conference since returning to Malaysia. It felt wonderful to be allowed to showcase my research findings to a wider scientific community,” expressed Kevin, when asked about his experience of attending the conference.

Kevin was one of the award recipients for Best Oral Presentation at the virtual conference.

“I am very grateful to RUMC for allowing me to share my findings and knowledge with an international community through the IUMRC 21 platform,” shared Sarah.

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