Thursday, August 5, 2010

Semester sneak peek

I'm now in semester two of second year at The University of Melbourne. My first semester was a chaotic in the beginning because I was having the nightmare of subject clashes and last minute arrangements. What I did was doing the microbiology lab subject first and postpone my biochemistry subject to semester two of 2010, I am grateful to my lecturers who helped me along the way too.

Choosing to do a lab subject after completing the theory (or called lecture) subject has the upside of better understanding, as my lecturers told me from experience. I am feeling that right from my first lab session in DNA extraction.

Microfuge tubes

The biochemistry practical subject is called Techniques in Molecular Science, the landmark experiments being DNA extraction, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), molecular cloning and protein purification. Being able to work with biomolecules was the real excitement of the subject.

Next, I am doing the second semester biochemistry lecture subject, Biochemical Regulation of Cell Function. The subject takes me further in knowledge gained in first semester through Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, so I'd like to call it the "biochemistry sequel subject".

Ribbon diagram of a protein.

I am going to learn about photosynthesis, cell signalling, hormones and nutrition from passionate people. Biochemical Regulation is not essential for majoring in biochemistry, but definitely worth your semester to gain more knowledge if you have a slot to spare!

I've mentioned, I am in university to learn more about biotechnology right? So it's here, Biotechnology as a standalone subject! Unlike other private universities in Malaysia, which prescribe you a list of subjects to study for their biotechnology course, the structure of biotechnology major at my place is very flexible. To complete a Biotech major, you choose to complete a stream within the major along with a compulsory subject, that's very cool! Molecular stuff and chemical happenings appeals a lot to me, so are structure and functions! So it's there, biochemistry stream of biotech major :)

Biochemical biotech is actually under biomedical section, oh well... there is molecular biotech (genetics and cell/dev biology streams). I think microbio/immuno and pharmacology streams (under biomed biotech) are pretty cool too!

Biotech is only a recommended second year subject for Biotech major, I know some are taking it as a breadth subject. There's some extra effort for non-science, the department does offer additional support for you, so you're not left alone. They come in the form of extra classes, it's because you need to know.

This time around, I'm sampling another university-wide breadth, Learning Cultures: Minds, Ideas, Objects. Again, people from various disciplines are coming together, the coolest part of this subject is getting to browse historical collections and archives. Learning Cultures is also about interdisciplinary research, I think getting to know (and understand) how different people think and work is useful; in the world we are using our expertise to solve problems in varying fields. Being a university-wide breadth, anyone from any course can take the subject, and I can guarantee you that there'll never be timetable clash with any course. Also note that all university breadths starts with UNIB in their subject code.

Till then! It's going to be another exciting time for intellectual life.


  1. oh man, i hate the microfuge tubes. de last time i saw dis was during a blood lab experiment. :S