Past Students (FY2015) - Yeo Jun Jie

Yeo Jun Jie - mentored by A/Prof Tan Ene Choo and A/Prof Sng Ban Leong

 

“I am currently a Year 4 medical student with the Duke NUS GMS. I did my third year research project under the combined mentorship of Dr Sng Ban Leong, Deputy Head, Senior Consultant of KKH’s Department of Women’s Anesthesia and Director of KK Research Centre, as well as Dr Tan Ene Choo, Principal Scientific Officer of KK Research Centre. 

Prior to starting medical school, I had a brief stint working at the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Singapore where I was involved in managing our trade relations with neighboring countries. 

I joined medicine wanting to impact the lives of people in a more personal and immediate fashion. During my clinical postings, I was drawn to the specialty of anesthesia and subsequently did 2 months of anesthesia electives at SGH as well as KKH. Even with the limited exposure, I was inspired by the rigor and multifaceted nature of the field. It was also during this time, that I witnessed many 'theoretical' principles learned in school applied to effect practical responses in the patient. 

Naturally, I was interested in doing a research project in the field of anesthesia. I met Dr Sng during my rotations in KKH. We discussed some of the projects that he had on hand and we both felt that it would be a good learning experience for me to embark on a translational research on genetics. It was again a move out of my comfort zone but that challenge was stimulating and supported by the mentorship of Dr Tan Ene Choo.  

The project explored the role of genetic variants in the SCN9A gene which codes for a sodium channel that was known to be involved in nocieption. We identified markers that were associated with chronic pain in post hysterectomy patients. We also discovered ethnic differences in pain perception that could not be completely accounted for by those genetic variants alone. This led us to also study the role of epigenetic mechanisms. In fact, we are now working on another project looking at the epigentic mechanism of methylation on the OPRM1 gene that codes for the mu-opioid receptor. 

This research experience was very fruitful and it gave me exposure to the demands of scientific research. It has certainly broadened my horizon and generated interest in translational research. I was also able to attend the 16th World Congress of Anaesthesiologists at Hong Kong where I presented a poster. It was an invaluable experience and I feel privileged to be able to present to esteemed anesthesiologists from around the world as a medical student. I am truly grateful for this learning opportunity.”

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