Help me make this a reality.

November 01, 2014

At this very moment, I know exactly what I want to do with the rest of my life and every step I have taken towards achieving my life goals has only fuelled me, and reassured my choice.

I have not always been this sure - I only found my strength, my drive and my passion in September of last year. Before this, I used to float around thinking "Yeah, I kinda liked learning about that so maybe i could live with it." Not anymore.

Since Friday, the 31st of October (coincidentally Halloween), I have not felt more enthused in my life. There is nothing I want more than to continue with stem cells and tissue engineering for the rest of my life. And I am willing to give up so much, and cross oceans to be able to do this for eternity.

I want to be a part of the team or even lead a team to transplant a perfectly recellularized organ to save a child suffering from congenital malformations. I want to help the children I see everyday at the Great Ormond Street Hospital, and give them the chance to attain full potential like the rest of us who have been so lucky.

I wish there was a simple way to express the fiery feeling in me. If you could see me talk about what I have been taught, the skills that I have gained that could change the world, and my visions, you'd see the bright flame in my soul dancing through my eyes. Those who have seen me talk about my passion would know exactly what I mean.

I want to be involved in translational research and clinical trials. I dream to see the evidence of my work improving lives. Fortunately, I am in the exact position where I am perfectly capable of fulfilling my dreams.

I am currently doing a year of research at the Paediatric Surgery Unit of the UCL Institute of Child Health. So far, I have been taught how to decellularize a mouse liver and a human treachea. I have also learnt to isolate single muscle fibres from mice which can be further broken down to obtain muscle stem cells for recellularization of a diaphragm. I am so blessed to be shown so much in such a short duration of time and I feel so humbled by this experience. Everyone I have met in scientific research has been so kind to me and has taught me so much.

For example, when I am sitting in the office waiting for a 3 hour perfusion, a PhD student approaches me and asks me if I would like to learn something while I am waiting. They have been so patient with my questions and have explained every single step along the way. All these kindness has just inspired me to want to spread my knowledge further and pass on the kindness.

The first paper that I read that got me excited on the idea of regenerative medicine and tissue engineering is the possibility of generating off-the-shelf heart valves. From that article on, I knew that it would be an absolute dream for me to eliminate immune rejections from organ transplants. To be able to create off-the-shelf organs that is accessible to anyone from any background could save so many lives. This includes congenital malformations, organ failures, organ damage due to accidents and cancer. This could change the world.

There is nothing more that I want than to be involved in making this dream a reality.

I am presently applying for PhD studentships to continue with my career in scientific research. I have had one interview thus far and despite my successful interview, the interviewer told me that I would make a great candidate but he decided to choose someone else with a first author name in a publication. Despite my relevant laboratory skills and passion, the competition is indeed tough and the lack of such a publication has deterred my chances. I want people to know that even though I may lack a certain set of skills or have not shown my knowledge sufficiently, I am willing to learn as long as you're willing to teach, and I will not disappoint.

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