keep calm & carry on.
Temasek Polytechnic (Singapore), Curtin University (Australia)
BSc (Hons) Food Science
Research Officer in a government research institute, Quality Assistant in a Chocolate Factory, Clinical assistant at GP
Favourite thing to do in science: Hearing about other scientist's work and feeling inspired to keep going in research
About Me: I'm Min, originally from Singapore, now living in Ireland, working on uncovering what happens to microbial communities along the dairy processing chain.
I’m from Singapore (a tiny island country/city/state in Southeast Asia), where there are no seasons. I’ve had the opportunity to live in Australia for a few years where I got my degree in Food Science. I love food and have always been interested in researching it (and eating it!). But only after working at a research institute in Singapore I realized how there’s still so much that can be done (in terms of scientific research) to make sure the food we eat is safe to eat and of good quality.
Outside of science, I love travelling, walking/hiking, taking film photos, exploring cities, trying new food/recipes, watching plays and reading.
My Work: I'm looking at how communities of bacteria grow and interact in the dairy production environment. I want to understand how the different groups of bacteria exists with each other and affect the quality and safety of the product.
There are different types of bacteria that can be present in food – good bacteria that are beneficial for health and bad bacteria that can make you sick. Both good and bad bacteria can exist together along the food production chain and my research hopes to understand where these bacteria come from and how they interact which each other along the whole dairy processing chain and how they affect the dairy product.
A project I’m currently working on focuses on cleaning and how different detergents used in cleaning in the dairy industry may affect the groups of bacteria found in milk.
My Typical Day: I get into work at around 9am, go through emails or news to start my brain going while sipping some coffee/tea. If I have lab work to do, I plan it out, before going into the lab, to make sure I know exactly what I have to do. If there's no lab work to be done, I'll be on the computer, either making graphs, running statistics or bioinformatics on results from experiments.
What I'd do with the money: I would use the money to create a model or interactive game to show that bacteria can come from many sources (humans, environment, food, water). This will help illustrate that everyone plays a part in food safety.
The model or interactive game will show the different stages of food production from the farm to production, to market, to the home kitchen and will highlight the areas where bacteria can come from. If it is a game, it can be brought to schools and engagement days on an ipad for children to play with. If a model, it would be useful to explain sources of contamination, cross-contamination and how safe food handling and good hygiene can possibly prevent one from getting sick.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Determined, curious & calm
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Lucy Rose, Two Door Cinema Club
What's your favourite food?
Hokkien Mee (a Singaporean fried noodle dish) but also anything with an egg on it.
What is the most fun thing you've done?
I went on a roadtrip with friends along the Pacific Northwest coast of the US, hiking and exploring. It was such a good summer.
What did you want to be after you left school?
I wanted to own a hotel once, before I got into science.
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Not really, maybe for being late once or twice.
What was your favourite subject at school?
What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?
I helped isolate a bacteria that was the cause of an outbreak.
What or who inspired you to become a scientist?
My supervisor in Australia, Dr Ranil Coorey. He helped me see the wonder in asking questions and how research helps fill the gaps in Science there are and how applicable research is to real life.
If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?
food product developer, or maybe a chef
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
1) For more time to spend with family and friends to visit or travel together, 2) for wisdom and strength to keep going in this PhD and 3) health and joy for my loved ones