Special Programme in Science (SPS)

SPSxDuke-NUS 2017 Recruitment Talks and Panel Discussion

This year's edition of the SPSxDuke-NUS event was held on Tuesday, 3 October, evening at LT 31. The event attracted 50-plus participants from science, engineering, business and humanities background, some came from as far as India, China, and South Korea.

We welcomed Prof London Ooi and A/Prof Silke Vogel back to share with us more about the MD and MD-PhD/PhD track in Duke-NUS. Additionally, A/Prof Chakraborty shared more about the newly-established Centre for Quantitative Medicine (CQM). CQM is an academic home made up of quantitative scientists in the medical field. It serves as a point of contact for biomedical researchers from DukeNUS partners requiring quantitative expertise. CQM strives to bring biomedical research and quantitative science communities together. This partnership will improve the quality of biomedical research carried out in Singapore. Hence, CQM may be of interest to students from math, physics, statistics, computing or data science background.

Photo 1: Prof. London Ooi opened the talk by asking the audience of their motivation for being a doctor

Photo 2: A/P Silke Vogel explained the two major divisions in Duke-NUS PhD programmes, namely Integrated Biology and Medicine (IBM) and Integrated Biostatistics and Bioinformatics (IBB).

Following the talks was a Q&A with a panel of Duke-NUS students and staff, moderated by Mr. Andreas Dewanto. Joining the speakers in the panel are 3 Science alumni (2 of them are also SPS alumni): Dr. Cheong Jit Kong (from SPS 1997 batch), Mr. Wu Yilong (from SPS 2009 batch), and Mr. Yong Zixin.

Dr. Cheong, currently a Research Assistant Professor, shared his perspective as the former co-course director of the pre-med module at Duke-NUS. He also added that, while taking pre-meds module expose prospective students to Team-based Teaching and Learning used in typical Duke-NUS classes, it is definitely not a prerequisite for admission to the medical school. Instead, as Prof Ooi revealed, it is the students' holistic aptitude and attitude that Duke-NUS admission panel is looking at. This holistic view comprises of the student's academic ability (as indicated by their CAP and/or MCAT result), organizational and leadership experience, ability to learn independently, and personality.

Yilong, who is in his 2nd-year Duke-NUS MD programme, shared his experience as part of the Duke-NUS Medical Technology Interest group. Duke-NUS encourages its students to engage their passion outside formal curriculum through various interest groups, such as the med tech group that Yilong is in, healthcare and policy group, entrepreneurship group, etc. The interest groups also provide avenues for Duke-NUS students to relate their first-degree training to the different aspect of medicines. For instance, students with law background may be interested in examining and improving healthcare policies in Singapore. Indeed, Duke-NUS, being the only postgraduate medical school in Singapore, accepts not only from life-sciences-related graduates, but also graduates other fields, even from humanities and business. Zixin, who is in his 4th year of Duke-NUS PhD programme, for example, obtained his first degree from Physics in 2014. It was his interest in psychology and neurology that made him decide to pursue further study in Duke-NUS.

Photo 3: Q&A session with (from left to right) Prof. Ooi, Mr. Wu Yilong, Mr. Yong Zixin, and Dr. Cheong Jit Kong.