Industry Sharing Series : Agilent Technologies

 

On 19 October, the Faculty of Science invited Agilent Technologies, a leader in life sciences, diagnostics and applied chemical markets, for a sharing session with staff and students. The theme of the session was “Inspiring Discoveries for a Better World”. During the session, participants learnt about how Agilent drives innovation to address pressing world concerns such as food safety, environmental crises and new drug discoveries.

In his opening address, Mr CHING Soon Tee, Manufacturing Director, gave an overview of Agilent’s work in six key markets - food, environment and forensics, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, chemicals and energy, and research. Thereafter, Dr GAN Chee Sian, Business Team Manager, South Asia Pacific, delved into how Agilent provides the resources and capabilities to formulate solutions in issues such as pharmaceutical drugs. He also highlighted Agilent’s partnership with Pharma to derive personalised medicine to help the immune system fight cancer, the company’s involvement in the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, assistance rendered to the National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA) in the search for life on Mars, amongst others.

Dr Vimala SREENIVASAN, Sales Director, Chemistries & Supplies, shared her personal story about her transition from academia to business. After attaining her Bachelor’s degree in Science and her PhD in Medicine 22 years ago, she joined a start-up firm as an entrepreneur, which eventually led to her career in Agilent 13 years later. She pointed out the similarities between running a business and undertaking a research project, concluding that Science education equips graduates with the versatility to succeed in diverse areas.

Mr Jarvis CHUA, Technical Manager, Customer Service Operation, shared his journey in customer service. He began as an introverted task-driven worker and became one who understood the different cultures of his clients around the world. In the course of his work, he also built long-term relationships and trust with his clients.

 

Last but not least, Ms KAM Siok Yuan, Research Associate and Ms ZHANG Wenlin, LC Application Engineer, shared their experiences in the Industrial Postgraduate Programme (IPP) in Agilent. The IPP is an initiative by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) with companies and locally-based universities to develop postgraduate manpower with critical research & development (R&D) skills for industry. Ms Kam is a PhD student currently enrolled in the programme while Ms Zhang had completed the programme and joined Agilent full-time. They shared that the IPP allowed them to obtain industrial exposure while pursuing postgraduate studies and opened doors for them to participate in local and overseas seminars conferences.

After the sharing and Q&A session, participants were invited to a networking dinner with the speakers. The event was well-attended, with 86 participants.

The Agilent Industry Sharing Series was unique as it featured talks from a diverse array of speakers. Five winners of an online essay competition on the topic “Next Breakthrough in Science” were offered the opportunity to dine with Agilent’s Singapore Country Manager Mr CHOW Woai Sheng and Director of Human Resources Mr Charles CHEE. One candidate will be selected for an internship with the company.

The five winners of the essay competition were Year Two Life Sciences majors Phillina PHUA and Salihah BEGUM; Year Three Chemistry major with a minor in Forensic Science Jacelyn ANGKASA; Year Four Life Sciences major with specialisation in Biomedical Science KONG Xin Ni; and Year Four Pharmacy PhD student TENG Yanbo. In their essays, they proposed ideas for the next breakthrough in Science, such as wireless medical technology which allows better detection, diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of patients; scent sensors that can transmit signals to police wear for detection of bombs and drugs; and gene therapy, an experimental technique that uses genes to treat or prevent a disease or disorder.

 

The Industry Sharing Series, which was launched in March this year, is a platform for thought leaders from the public and private sector, as well as diverse industries, to provide insights into trends, challenges and opportunities in their respective fields. These sessions provide valuable opportunities for students to engage industry players as part of their professional development to prepare them for the workplace. The sessions also serve as a networking platform to seed high-value partnerships with participating organisations.

 

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Dr Gan Chee Sian, Business Team Manager, South Asia Pacific, sharing on how Agilent drives innovation to address pressing world concerns

 

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Students actively asking questions during the Q&A segment

 

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Panel session with the speakers from Agilent