My month-long stay in Kuala Lumpur under the New Colombo Plan has come to an abrupt end and I have now returned home. I had an absolutely amazing time in Malaysia and if I could, I would do it all again. Over the past several weeks abroad, I gained so much knowledge both in the research lab and from all of the cultural experiences I was able to immerse myself in.
At the University of Malaya, I spent my time in Assoc. Prof. Dr. Koshy Philip’s Fermentation Technology Laboratory where I was able to work with several strains of lactic acid bacteria to isolate and purify antimicrobial peptides. I was able to brush up on my skills in biology and master several analytical chemistry techniques (HPLC, Orbitrap and NMR). My time in the Fermentation Technology Laboratory has left me feeling significantly more confident in my skills and in my pursuit of a career in chemistry.
In my spare time I had the pleasure of being able to explore the wonderful country that is Malaysia. Although the humidity was a huge slap in the face when I first stepped outside the airport, I quickly adjusted and Kuala Lumpur truly felt like my home. I was fortunate enough to visit the Petronas Towers, Batu Caves, National Palace (Old and New), National Mosque, the historical town of Melaka and many more sights. One of the highlights of the trip was spending a few days in Langkawi which is an archipelago of beautiful, picturesque islands off the coast of the north of Malaysia.
I just want to finish off by saying that if you are ever presented with the opportunity to go on exchange, and you have the means to, DO IT! You’ll be kicking yourself if you don’t!!!
Renata Kucera, a Bachelor of Science (Forensic and Analytical Science) student, participating in Neural Networks as Applied to Social Behaviour-New Colombo Plan project, “Peptide Chemistry: Chemical characterisation of antimicrobial peptides using NMR” at University of Malaya, Malaysia in 2016