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Heart Health

Road to a PHD

Road to a PHD


Continuous learning is important for healthcare practitioners as technologies and treatments are constantly evolving. Clinicians at National University Heart Centre, Singapore regularly enhance their knowledge to strengthen care for patients. One such clinician, A/Prof. Mark Chan, tells more about his journey to obtaining a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

In 2015, I embarked on a two-year journey pursuing a PhD in Risk Stratication of Acute Coronary Syndromes at the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands. Although I had to be based in the Netherlands, I was allowed to continue my work in Singapore and Durham, North Carolina.

Enhancing Critical Thinking

Throughout the two-year programme, I acquired advanced knowledge in key areas such as Biostatistics, Bioinformatics, ELISA1 assays, MicroRNA2 sequencing and Real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction3 (PCR).

I personally feel that the programme has enhanced my critical thinking and trained my ability to juggle both my work and studies as I had to complete the research work and thesis while managing my full-time day job.

A Lifetime of Continuous Learning

road2.JPGFor those who are aspiring to pursue a PhD programme, I would say to choose one that emphasises on practicebased learning rather than theorybased learning as it is a more effective method in learning how to apply knowledge to real-life situations occurring in daily medical practice.

In addition, a PhD is a key milestone in a lifetime of continuous learning.

A big thank you to my mentor, Prof. Dominique de Kleijn, for this wonderful opportunity.

By A/Prof. Mark Chan

1 An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test that detects and measures antibodies in the blood. 2 A small non-coding RNA molecule that regulates gene expression. 3 Used to amplify a single copy or a few copies of a segment of DNA.