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PhD offers chance to be a part of influential medical research

Kim Ton thumbnail
Kim Ton

A quick web search for postgraduate study options led Kim Ton to a world-class genetic research group and a role in developing a test for those at risk of serious drug reactions.

Kim is undertaking her PhD at the University of Otago, Christchurch under the supervision of Professor Martin Kennedy at the Carney Centre for Pharmacogenomics.

After finishing her undergraduate study in Vietnam, Kim took to her computer to search for international postgraduate projects in the area of genetics. Within a few minutes she found the University of Otago, Christchurch site, and an opportunity to join Professor Kennedy's small but productive research team.

Kim is now working on a PhD project to develop a genetic screening test to identify those at a higher risk of serious drug reactions.

“Certain people have serious reactions to medication, and some genes are important to drug metabolism. Sequencing a person's entire genome is costly and time consuming so we are focusing on developing a test for genes which are associated with drug metabolism and reactions.''

The highlights of her PhD experience so far are learning from Professor Kennedy and becoming an independent, useful part of a research team.

“Being able to work independently in a laboratory is important if you want to have a career as a scientist. I have learned that at the University of Otago, Christchurch.''

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