Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Start of third year!

homemade cappucino to start off the day! I am a third year. 

Remember when I first started this blog I haven't even got a clue how Cambridge is like? I haven't even been in the UK before at that stage! And look at me now...all full of wisdom, of a third year. (better than a first year :P)  Time really flies. Looking back, I couldn't be grateful enough for the family and friends that have supported me through. Those that are far away offered their ears (and their videocall), sacrificed their sleep just to listen to my rants; and my fellow cantabs here have been nothing short of amazing in supporting each other in any possible way. *melts* 

I used to hate this place very much. And my level of hatred towards this place usually escalates to the peak during Easter, when the Tripos/finals are super near. I think I will be used to the exam stress this year. Oh wait, no. I will still scream, rant, cry and act out all kinds of drama, but a note to self, that too, shall pass. 

Anyway, while everyone is still happily soaking in their last day of break before the term starts tomorrow and the freshers, happily being lost and confused all the time at Sidney Street, I...being a Pathology NatSci this year, have already started working in the lab since yesterday. 2 holi-days short. 

(Yes, medics in Cambridge get a break from being a hectic, mad medic in the third year, by doing some other courses of our liking. pheww... and I heard we are paying NatSci's tuition fee which is wayyy cheaper than medics' one this year.) 

It is not a bad thing I guess. I am currently working in Dr Ajioka's lab with 2 phd students. I met one of them yesterday, and we went full force immediately, literally. Because there wasn't a desk space for me in the lab yet so 2 of us had to move drawers and machines around to clear a corner for me. What a warming-up!

And guess what I'm working on this year? Exploding bacteria. Yes, we are trying to explode bacteria as uniformly and optimally as possible.  Why on earth would anyone want to do that? I thought so too initially. 

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But it isn't as easy as exploding bacteria! My project aims to mutate the viruses which infect bacteria = bacteriophage, so they can infect the bacteria and incorporate their genes into the bacteria to make the bacteria burst more synchronously. No, I won't make a virus that causes a catastrophe as in The Dawn of the Planet of the Ape. It's a virus that infects bacteria, not.human.plants.animals. 

There are many applications to this idea if I manage to come up with a very simple, elegant method within these 2 terms. But the bigger implication is, we can then use the same method to increase the yield of any protein/product we desire from bacteria and to enable one species of bacteria to produce proteins which can only be produced by another species. This includes antibiotics, rare proteins etc. So yea, that's my academic part of the year, aside from the usual but MUCH LESS lectures and supervisions for the year. *twirls* 

As for the ECA part, I am embarking on a fresh, new, daunting journey with a new organization - Malaysian Medics International. I guess it is daunting for everyone on the committee but very very exciting at the same time. I am suppose to work on the finance and sponsorship *with zero experience*. Grabbed this opportunity because it is a chance to learn new things apart from the human body. We are preparing a series of very new, exciting and most importantly, USEFUL events for this whole year and the next summer, so if you are a Malaysian Medic studying in any university in the world, do like our page on facebook - Malaysian Medics International UK for updates. :) 

Ok, time to head to the lab to burst more bacteria! 

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