Asian Chemical Biology Initiative 2019 Jakarta

Jakarta Tutorial & Interview.

Jakarta: City of Urbanization

A country’s growth can be seen with its flourishing population and city planning: new subway lines emerging, more high-rise buildings popping up, and every inch of life going wireless. Likewise, currently holding a population of about 10 million, Jakarta is undoubtedly one of those cities that have grown exponentially over the decades. The city attracts foreign travelers with spectacular urban landscapes while mind-boggling traffic jams still afoot, half of which now is filled with motorbikes from ride-hailing and food-delivery services. In the coming decades, Jakarta will continue to be an economic and cultural epicenter of the Southeast Asian region.

Next Move: Education of Younger Generations

The city's infrastructure has been nearing to mature. Now, the next stimulus should be applied to providing high-quality education to its citizens. Indonesia offers rich natural resources that can be harnessed for chemical biology studies, and a wealth of potential talents awaiting to shine through as next-generation leaders. As a group of chemical biology professionals from Asia, the ACBI has every reason to cater to Indonesia's educational move and delivers the joy and practicality of learning chemical biology, showcasing how studying chemical biology can help navigate the younger generation’s career paths to more fulfilling and successful ones.

 

Back in January 2016, the ACBI organized a meeting and student interview event in Jakarta (https://www.asianchembio.com/jakarta-2016). A couple of Indonesian students were successfully awarded a scholarship and seized the opportunity to study chemical biology in ACBI-member countries afterward. Seeing such rays of hope, the ACBI made a comeback to Jakarta in December 2019 to continue its student interview event series, but in a slightly different format: some new flavors were added to share special moments with as many Indonesian students as possible. Here’s how.

Tutorial Lectures

In the afternoon of Saturday, December 7, 2019, seven ACBI Professors from Japan and Korea gathered at the Sultan Hotel Jakarta, a legacy and luxury hotel situated at the heart of Jakarta, to meet with aspiring Indonesian students who wish to study abroad for an advanced degree. For this occasion, 37 applicants from entire Indonesia submitted their online resumes, and after due screening, 24 students successfully received a golden ticket to participate in this half-day event. Their profiles varied from undergraduate to fresh postgraduate students who recently completed a Master’s degree, and in the majors of chemistry, biology, biotechnology, pharmacy, and such.

 

The afternoon event opened with tutorial lectures of cutting-edge chemical biology research to hook the students’ interest and to show how a broad-based discipline chemical biology can be.

 

Below are the topics covered:

 

Introduction to Chemical Biology

   Prof. Motonari Uesugi (Kyoto University)

                   

Target Identification

   Assoc. Prof. Kaori Sakurai (Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology)

 

Small Molecule Bioimaging

   Prof. Young-Tae Chang (POSTECH)

   Prof. Kazuya Kikuchi (Osaka University)

 

Protein Bioimaging

   Prof. Takeaki Ozawa (The University of Tokyo)

 

Chemical Biology of Epigenetics

   Prof. Takayoshi Suzuki (Osaka University)

Computational Chemical Biology

   Prof. Sun Choi (Ewha Womans University)

Student Interview

Followed by the tutorial lectures is the student interview session. To maximize the face-to-face nature of interviewing, ACBI professors were assigned to talk with 12 students individually. Each seven-minute slot passed by like a flash. Nonetheless, within the given time frame, students fully enjoyed the privilege of talking directly with the professors and asked practical questions about chemical biology research and study abroad opportunities.

ACBI Merit Student Award

For ACBI professors, it is always a thrilling moment when they meet and talk with local’s top talents. Professors frequently travel abroad to attend conferences and seminars in major cities of the world, but they rarely have a chance to sit down and talk with local students unless given the opportunity to do so. Meeting with local students is as valuable an experience as trying local food and exploring exotic destinations that the country has to offer.

 

We’ve looked for ways to show our appreciation for local students’ showing interest in the ACBI, and to help them attain their dreams in any possible means. How? The ACBI added a new twist to the 2019 Jakarta Event, by honoring top-performing students with the title of ACBI Merit Student Award.

 

So the 2019 Jakarta Event was turned into not only a learning experience but a competition for the student candidates. During the tutorial lectures and interview sessions, even the coffee break and dinner time, the students were encouraged to ask questions proactively and show their passion for chemical biology.

 

At the end of the day, the ACBI professors voted for top-performing students, and thus four students were selected as recipients of the ACBI Merit Student Award. An award certificate was presented to the four awardees from Professor Uesugi. The ACBI wishes that the entitlement adds a credential to their resume.

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A post-event survey indicates that the event was overall an eye-opening and insightful experience as the students were exposed to cutting-edge research efforts led by preeminent ACBI professors. The survey results scored 4.8 out of 5 on the likelihood of recommending the event to others. At the same time, though, a majority of the voices appealed for longer session time and diversity in tutorial topics. We will surely take these into consideration for our future events.

 

Every day, we fuel ourselves to be more influential and to catalyze a better and sustainable future. The ACBI wishes that this event has impacted on the Indonesian students’ career choices positively and professionally, and steered their interest toward chemical biology. It is still a relatively new discipline in emerging Southeast Asian countries due to educational constraints, which conversely means that the region leaves plenty of room for chemical biology research to flourish and grow.

 

Here are some glimpses from the event. The air was filled with big smiles and aspirations to learn chemical biology. Enjoy.

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