17 October 2018

Student updates: Aaron Koay

We look at what our Scholars are currently up to on the programme and what they're up to next, giving you an insight into what being a Laidlaw Scholar means. Today we hear from Aaron Koay who has just completed his first summer research programme.

It is the beginning of October, and Trinity students have by now had a few weeks to settle in to the new academic year. I’m in 4th Year Pharmacy and I am currently undertaking a 4-month research placement, based in a lab right next to the one where I spent 5 weeks of my summer in. Even though I wasn’t physically in Dr. Carsten Ehrhardt’s lab since the end of the first phase of my Laidlaw project, I have been in close contact with him.

Shortly after my project, I was taken onboard to the organising committee of an international conference on pulmonary drug delivery chaired by Dr. Ehrhardt. This opportunity not only provided me with first-hand experience in organising the details of a conference, from catering to setting up participants’ posters, but also allowed me to network and engage with some of the brightest minds in this field. It was indeed one of the many domino reactions the Laidlaw Programme has led to!

During my time in Dr. Ehrhardt’s lab, we generated really excellent data that would push the boundaries of the knowledge of the pathology of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). We are extremely thrilled by our findings. In order to communicate our findings to a larger scientific community, we are planning to bring our project to a few international conferences next year.

Therefore, amid my placement and part-time job, I have also been preparing different abstracts for different conferences. A number of travel opportunities for my research project also appeared recently, which I am very excited about!

Our video showcase evening is happening in about a week. Over the summer, we were asked to each prepare a short reflecting on our development through the Laidlaw programme thus far. It proved to be a challenging task. As it turned out, however, I quite enjoyed the process and I am delighted to have acquired a few valuable IT skills from the activity. I believe this new skillset will give me a competitive edge in my future endeavours. I am very much looking forward to the showcase event, which is the first opportunity for all of us to gather together this term.

A list of other upcoming Laidlaw events is in my diary: Laidlaw Conference, leadership weekends, residential weekend, poster presentation and so on. Undoubtedly, the Laidlaw Programme has strongly supported me in my development towards achieving my personal and career goals and I am excited to see what else it will bring in the second half of the programme!


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