Life Sciences Personal Statement
My zeal for biology was consolidated during my pursuance of the Molecular Biotechnology Diploma in Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP). The program exposed me thoroughly to the Life Sciences as it required me to carry out numerous independent studies and complete a semester of intense research projects. This has prepared me adequately for the rigour and independence the University would expect of me. I chose to specialise in Microbiology and Immunology, where I learnt about Wolbachia and read about studies that saw a reduction in dengue virus replication and spread in Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes. I was particularly drawn to it having seen my sister diagnosed with dengue when I was younger. Thankfully, she got better due to modern medicine and her ordeal illustrated to me how this field could potentially save lives.
During my final year, I was the sole intern from NYP at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. I willingly stepped out of my comfort zone to work and study abroad for 3 months. I assisted an Honours research project on melanoma cells and how they evaded killing by therapeutic drugs by understanding their cell signaling pathways. I also assisted a Ph.D. research project on the effects of UV radiation on melanoma cells. Besides developing essential laboratory skills like performing SDS-PAGE, Western blots and cell culturing of D24 and MM418C1 melanoma cells, I became more meticulous in scientific work. For my final year project, I isolated aptamers specific for Alpha-Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone and Endothelin-1 through SELEX and graphene oxide. While experiments using SELEX and graphene oxide were relatively new, I applied prior theoretical knowledge of molecular biology to carry out experiments using PCR and DNA purification. The project was challenging, but I delivered it successfully during the final poster presentation.
Beyond the formal elements of my course, I also actively read further on disease-causing bacteria. One that particularly interested me is Streptococcus pyogenes which causes necrotizing fasciitis. While it can cause gruesome infections, I was surprised to learn about the genus' contribution to the food industry, like the production of yogurt from S.thermophilus. I represented my faculty at yearly open houses, to showcase and interact with prospective students about my course. In this, I set up microscopic displays of S. aureus, S. epidermidis and fluorescent displays of bacterial transformation of E. coli. These displays of interests mirrored what I had been doing since young, which was to collect and digest National Geographic booklets and science fact books alike. Overall, my diploma course affirmed my lifelong obsession in Biology.
In secondary school, I was an active member of English Drama Club and the production manager for a full-scale drama production. Through this, I gained teamwork, leadership, time-management and organisational skills. I achieved the national EAGLES award, awarded to the top 10% of students in each cohort excelling in leadership qualities, service to community and excellence in non-academic activities. I was deeply awed by the UK when I travelled there for a school trip in 2015. Specifically, I visited universities and hospitals in Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and London. It widened my global-perspective, and it intrigued me how UK students went about their education with such fervour and balance in their lives. I was also pulled in by the beautiful cultures I experienced and by how welcoming the people in these cities were. It was this trip that made me decide to further my studies in the UK. I want to grow and excel alongside like-minded individuals, actively contribute to scientific research, and be part of a University positioned at the forefront of the Life Sciences. I am confident that my experiences, passion, and skills will stand me in good stead to excel in your course.
Pretty happy with this personal statement as it got me into my universities of choice!