Preparing A Pipeline Of Life Sciences Talent

PSB Academy offers students a flexible life sciences education with well-equipped facilities as well as overseas research opportunities at La Trobe University where they can learn from distinguished faculty.

AsianScientist (Mar. 4, 2022) – After two years of canceled flights and stay-at-home holidays, borders have started to open again. Many people are taking to the skies for vacations and family reunions. Typically, when leaving and arriving, each traveler takes a swab test to check for COVID-19 infection and ensure that the virus does not cross borders with them.

In fact, with mandatory testing before work gatherings and events, industries and communities have become reliant on a long swab and a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machine. This is just one example of the impact diagnostic devices and biotechnology has had on our lives.

As efforts to tackle COVID-19 march on, the global medical technology market continues to grow and is expected to reach roughly US$657.98 billion by 2028. To build a talent pool capable of developing similar emerging health technologies, Singapore’s PSB Academy and La Trobe University in Australia have come together to offer a robust life sciences education as well as a flexible Master of Biotechnology and Bioinformatics program.

Spoiled for choice

On top of four life sciences bachelor’s programs in disciplines such as pharmaceutical science to molecular biology and chemistry, PSB Academy’s new Master of Biotechnology and Bioinformatics program is designed to build local talent and upskill graduates.

The course is also very flexible. Students have the option of completing this course either full-time or part-time. In either case, the students will first complete eight core modules at PSB Academy. To strengthen Singapore’s pipeline of life sciences talent, these eight core modules will include both biotechnology and bioinformatics classes.

Then, they will again have the choice between an advanced bioinformatics pathway where they will complete eight more modules at PSB Academy or a research project that will take them to La Trobe University in Australia.

To further build core capabilities, as part of the advanced bioinformatics pathway, the course offers modules on technologies like programming, artificial intelligence (AI) and data mining.

In their first academic year while studying practical biotechnology, the students will try their hand at lab techniques like PCR, cloning, protein expression, protein purification and immunoblotting, which will help them develop the technical competency required for research roles in the field.

If they choose to pursue advanced bioinformatics—as a significant emerging technology in the bioinformatics space-the students will have the opportunity to learn about AI techniques like data modelling, machine learning, deep learning and statistical methods. They will also find out how AI in bioinformatics can be applied to DNA, RNA and protein structures.

Dedicated to providing a practical and holistic education, the course also features modules on project management and scientific communication skills. The students will be equipped with the skills to manage large-scale information technology projects, scheduling, cost, resource management and more—all valuable skills across all industries.

A lab for learning

At PSB Academy’s STEM campus, students will have access to well-equipped research facilities and labs stocked with state-of-the-art instruments.

To support the robust syllabus, the students will have access to well-equipped research facilities such as full-fledged labs. In fact, PSB Academy recently invested roughly S$100,000 in advanced research instruments.

Set up to accommodate students who choose to stay in Singapore, PSB Academy’s life science and chemistry laboratories are stocked with the relevant teaching and research tools that allow students to run research projects from Singapore.

Additionally, the synergetic relationship between different faculties across PSB Academy will greatly benefit all the students. In particular, bioinformatics students will be well-equipped with access to the computational facilities and lectures provided by the subject experts of the School of Engineering and Technology.

A highly attractive component of the course is the research project pathway. Students can choose to complete the second academic year of the program at La Trobe University undertaking a research project of their choice.

Students also have the option to conduct an applied research project dealing with data sets that they procure from a partner company under the company’s supervision. This could be conducted at either PSB Academy or La Trobe University and will be especially helpful for part-time master’s students who hope to use the course to advance existing careers.

Through such exciting options and the classes, PSB Academy aims to not only set the students up for success but lead the way for new and enterprising breakthroughs in the biotechnology and bioinformatics landscape.

“Just 10 years ago nobody envisioned that mRNA technology could be life-saving and no one thought about gene editing as a medical tool but last year the scientists behind CRISPR were granted a Nobel Prize,” said Dr. Seah Seng Wee, Lecturer and Module Leader for Biochemistry at PSB Academy.

“Technology moves very fast and combined with data science capabilities, graduates can be prepared for potential future pandemics and other evolving requirements of that workspace,” he added.

Asian Scientist Magazine is a media partner of PSB Academy.


Copyright: Asian Scientist Magazine; Photo: PSB Academy.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

Asian Scientist Magazine is an award-winning science and technology magazine that highlights R&D news stories from Asia to a global audience. The magazine is published by Singapore-headquartered Wildtype Media Group.

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