Dr Vinod RMT Balasubramaniam

How has your study in Monash Malaysia helped to prepare you for the working world?

It enabled me to be exposed to an international setting in terms of its curriculum and also the staff which made me very independent and critical in terms of thinking and presenting novel research ideas. This is very helpful now in the working world to produce quality and ground-breaking research.

Why did you decide to study at JCSMHS?

Right after my bachelor’s degree, I had a burning desire to understand and learn more about virology and infectious diseases. JCSMHS was the right place to pursue this dream as it has an array of specialists in this field, notably Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sharifah Syed Hassan, who was the former Director of Veterinary Research Institute (VRI) and also an expert in molecular virology. Not forgetting the modern facilities which JCSMHS possesses, which makes it an ideal place for top notch research in Malaysia.

What was it about Monash that made you decide to pursue your studies here?

It is a proven fact that Monash is one of the best and most prestigious universities in the world. Its degree is widely acknowledged and recognised. Graduating from Monash enabled me to achieve my education and career goals of being in one of the best universities. Apart from that, being a Monash graduate helped me to further my career ambitions as a post-doctoral research scientist in Mount Sinai hospital, New York.

What other opportunities did you participate in while at Monash?

Being at this prestigious university enabled me to apply for many short term scholarships abroad to improve my research thinking and skills while pursuing my PhD. One of it was the HKU-PASTEUR Virology course held in Hong Kong in 2010. I was one of the 2 students selected from Malaysia for this scholarship.

What did you like best about your studies here? What were the most challenging aspects and how did you overcome them?

The Monash PhD program teaches us to be independent. Apart from that, being able to meet and interact with students and staff from all around the world gave a very good exposure in sharpening our communication skills. One of the most challenging aspects while at Monash was juggling between the demanding working hours in the lab and personal life.

What would you say is the most valuable skill or experience you’ve gained during your time here at Monash?

I would say it’s definitely my communications and thinking skills. The Monash PhD program is very robust and innovative, where we have to produce and present novel ideas in solving research questions with the help of our mentors.

What do you love most about your student life at Monash?

During my time as a PhD student, I made many friends, not only from Monash but also from various institutions in Malaysia through research collaborations and conference networking. Apart from that, there were many activities both on and off campus from MUPA which were fun and memorable.

What are your career goals?

I wish to contribute significantly in understanding the cross-talks between viruses and their host and discover a way to stop them and establish myself as one of the best virologists in Malaysia.