Brain Research Institute Monash Sunway (BRIMS)
Neuroscience Research Scholar Program (RSP)
Unpaid non-credit internship (4 months). Research in academia.
Contact Raeesah on LinkedIn if you have any questions:
Would you recommend your internship to a friend?
Yes. My experience at BRIMS had a huge impact on how I perceive the world of biomedical research. If my friend was interested in research, I'd highly encourage them to intern at BRIMS if they can, as there are many fascinating research projects they can participate in while at BRIMS!
What were you looking to gain from your experience?
I'd only just graduated from secondary school then, so I wanted to know if a career in scientific research would be something I would enjoy in the future. Also, I wanted to gain some laboratory skills in the field of biomedical sciences. And since I've always been interested in neuroscience, I was curious what it was like to research about the brain.
What attracted you to the company you interned with?
BRIMS is one of the only research institutes in Malaysia dedicated to neuroscience research, and one of the fields in science I'm interested in is neuroscience.
What was a typical working day like?
It depended a lot on what experiments I was running at the time. I wasn't required to stay for conventional working hours, but often I would. I would usually come to BRIMS at around 9am, but sometimes I would come in earlier if it was better for my experiments. Throughout my internship, my main projects involved working together with two PhD students in BRIMS. In the beginning, I worked alongside one of them in the lab and received a lot of advice on improving my techniques, but after that, I would work individually and plan my own schedule for my experiments.
What did you enjoy about your internship?
I enjoyed being exposed to an intensive scientific research environment, and learning all the engaging and quirky personalities you can meet in science. I was fascinated by many of the research techniques I learned, and by how simple experiments could provide so much information about the brain. Also, I made some great friends among the postgraduate students and other interns at BRIMS. I have a lot of sweet memories involving them, and I still keep in contact with them to this day!
What was the most challenging part?
I hadn't even started A Levels yet when I started interning, so learning a lot of research techniques and the theory involved was sometimes overwhelming. But I read up a lot, so I got used to it and learned!
How did the experience benefit your career?
I learned a lot of skills in molecular biology at BRIMS even before I started my undergraduate degree - to name them, I learned molecular cloning, real-time PCR, agarose gel electrophoresis, tilapia brain sectioning, immunohistochemistry, neuro-imaging and animal handling techniques. I still haven't learned many of those techniques even in my university lab classes since some of those techniques are too advanced or specialized, so I'm very grateful for the experience I gained at BRIMS. If I really pursue a career involving research in the future, I know they'll definitely come in handy.
What is one advice that you would give to others who are planning to do an internship?
I think we owe it to ourselves to seek out as many new experiences as possible while we're young. So if you've got some spare time, you should definitely go for an internship. Look for an institute/company doing work which truly interests you. And while you're interning, you should learn as much as you can. Seek out opportunities for learning new skills. Maybe you can even write a review paper if you're interested, don't be afraid to ask your internship supervisor for advice and support if you want to do that. And last but not least, don't forget to have fun, and don't hesitate to make friends, even if they're older than you! Who knows, you might make some friendships which will last for a lifetime :D