Hello, my name is Dr Yen Chin Koay
I work with John O'Sullivan in the Cardiometabolic Disease Group. My major background is in synthetic organic chemistry. For my PhD project, I worked at UNSW with Professor Shelli McAlpine, and I first joined HRI because I felt like HRI offers great support to emerging researchers to do groundbreaking research.
One particular reason is that I really like my supervisor, who is John O'Sullivan, as he has been working in and has extensive training in metabolic diseases, and he's very good at looking at different mechanisms of the disease. And I think working with him I could expand my skills.
I find medical research very interesting as I'm able to apply my previous expertise in chemistry to areas to look at how to answer biological questions like looking at different pathogenesis of diseases, especially in cardiovascular research and heart failure, which is a major epidemic.
I have to be honest that being a scientist is very challenging. You have to always learn to multitask and I think that's the part that attracts me the most. I'm able to develop multiple different skills across different areas. The least enjoyable part is to be able to maintain a work-life balance, especially sometimes when you're hitting grant deadlines or a manuscript submission, and I'm learning to improve that.
Working at HRI is amazing and I'm really grateful, because they provide extensive training in research and I'm able to communicate with senior mentors, who constantly provide feedback on my research skills and try to make me more mature in my critical thinking skills, and set me up for my next stage of my career.
So one piece of advice to be given to new medical researchers is to not be afraid of changes. Don't let the fear take you on, but just try to learn everything that you can. As you know, if you never try to do something, then you won't be able to achieve that thing.