WOMEN IN STEM: FINDING CURE TO CANCER THROUGH BIG DATA
Sinem Kadioglu, a 3rd year PhD student at the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) in A*STAR is gearing up for the next phase of cancer genomics discovery to bring a ray of hope to patients who are battling against metastatic cancer.
From Istanbul, Turkey, Sinem chose to join the Singapore International Pre-Graduate Award (SIPGA) to gain hands-on and professional experience towards deciding on a field to major in.
- Please tell us about yourself
I graduated with the highest honor from the department of molecular biology and genetics in Istanbul Kültür University, Turkey, having conducted research in understanding the mechanisms of breast cancer under the The Scientific and Technological Research Institution of Turkey (TUBITAK). Subsequently, I took my internship training under the ‘Singapore International Pre-Graduate Award in A*STAR, where my research focused on emotional behavior in Drosophila melanogaster. After I completed my internship, I started my PhD in the laboratory of computational cancer genomics at GIS.
- What are you working on now in A*STAR?
I am a 3rd year PhD student in the Computational Cancer Genomics laboratory in GIS. We develop and apply computational approaches in studying cancer to enable biomarker discovery and data-intensive clinical decision support. In my PhD project, I am specifically working on cancer metastasis by using the data-driven approach to analyze a large metastatic tumor genomic and transcriptomic datasets across the cancer types.
- Why did you choose to do research in cancer detection?
I remember wanting to be an astronaut when I was a child, but due to limited opportunities, my interest gradually evolved from this field to the health sciences.
My interest in the field of cancer started when my university professor (Prof. Dr. Narcin Palavan-Unsal) discovered my passion for science and she has been instrumental in my journey in the field on cancer until today.
- How has the SIPGA award helped you in your career?
Being a SIPGA awardee is a great way to gain hands-on and professional experience for me to start my PhD journey. The SIPGA programme helped me explore and choose the right career pathway, and gave me the opportunity to meet new people and make connections in the academic world.
In a nutshell, taking advantage of SIPGA internship opportunities is a great way to get a headstart on my PhD journey and prepare for a successful career in the cancer field.
SIPGA internship was an exploratory journey that helped me understand the field of specialization I should consider in the future. I chose to pursue SIPGA, as a PhD will equip me to make meaningful contributions in the field cancer research and shed light on previously undiscovered mechanisms.
- Coming to Singapore must have been a critical decision, what were your expectations, do you plan to continue your research in Singapore/ A*STAR long term
Coming from a very distant country and cultural background, adapting to a new environment can be challenging. Singapore, being a multi-ethnic society, helped me meet people from different cultures that gave me a fresh perspective not only in my research but also life in general.
A*STAR is one of the best institutions that can offer me the best opportunities in terms of research that would greatly help me in starting my doctorate journey. After my PhD, I would love to stay at A*STAR and continue my research. I am very happy with my current group and would be honored to continue my research with them in the computational cancer genomics field.
- Useful tips for interested applicants for SIPGA
1. Get out of your comfort zone to somewhere far and wide,
2. Maintain a professional LinkedIn account,
3. Target your resume in the field that you are really interested in,
4. Emphasize your skills,
5. Connect with the principal investigators you would like to study with,
6. Seek out feedback when practising for your interview,
7. Start applying as soon as possible.