Admissions Blog

Before joining Duke-NUS Medical School, Lim Ka Keat, a 3rd year PhD student in the Integrated Biology and Medicine (IBM) programme, worked for a number of years as a project manager in a research center in Kuala Lumpur. Although he developed an interest in drug discovery research during his undergraduate days as a Pharmacy student, it was his work experience of managing research projects on prescription and medication utilization that opened his eyes to the big picture of healthcare and health systems, and inspired him to explore the area of health policy.

With the encouragement of very supportive bosses, colleagues, pharmacy lecturers and his family, he first undertook a Masters in health policy and health economics in London. Thereafter, he decided to pursue his interest further, and applied to do a PhD here at Duke-NUS Medical School. We interview him to learn more about his research and its relevance to our part of the world.

ka keat phd integrated biology and medicine

Ka Keat presenting his research work

How did you come to know about the Duke-NUS IBM programme?

Hi everyone! I’m Bernice, a first year student in the Duke-NUS Integrated Biology and Medicine (IBM) program, pursuing my Ph.D. in Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases under the supervision of Dr David Silver.

After graduating from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Science in 2007, I started working at the National Cancer Centre as a Research Officer under the supervision of Prof Teh Bin Tean. In my 6 years working in a cancer laboratory, my love for research grew, and I decided it was time to challenge myself by embarking on this new journey.

In our first semester, students are required to complete a core course entitled “Molecules to Medicine”, which is conducted on a team-based learning platform. Lectures were pre-recorded and had to be reviewed prior to class, and through discussions and interactions with our lecturers and group members, I was able to benefit from this collaborative learning environment. What I enjoyed most was to be able to review current scientific literature and to be encouraged to think critically.

I am Javier, a first year PhD student in the Duke-NUS IBM (Integrated Biology and Medicine) program and am currently working in the Cancer and Stem Cell Biology department.

My interest and current area of research lies in cancer metabolism, which involves unravelling part of the mystery of how cancer cells sustain themselves. Before embarking on my PhD journey, I obtained a Bachelor of Biomedical Science degree from University of Western Australia and spent two years living in Tokyo doing volunteer work and travelling in Japan.

During those years, I was fortunate enough to experience the medical diagnostics and paediatric surgery field while interning at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital Singapore, and as a research student in Telethon Institute for Child Health Research Perth. These hospital internships allowed me to better understand the need for translational medicine, which in turn fuelled my passion to pursue a career in research. Duke-NUS offers such an opportunity, especially in the area of translational medical research.

Duke-NUS Labs

Picture Contributed by Kenneth Goh