Internship experience Shanghai, China in Pharmaceutical Research

[h2a]Marco Pimentel[/h2a]

  • Duration: 12 weeks
  • UniversityNOVA University of Lisbon (UNL)
  • Location: Shanghai, China
  • Type of office: Shanghai office
  • Industry sector: Pharmaceutical Research
  • Key assignments: Assistance in research techniques related to cellular and molecular biology and immunology, such as PCR, molecular cloning, cell culture, cell imaging and protein biochemistry, and biochemical mechanisms of regulatory T cell biology.

Hi Marco! Let’s start with your life here in Shanghai. How do you feel in general? This is your first time living abroad right? Do you feel comfortable and adaptable in this culture?

I feel very comfortable living here. It’s a nice city, very different from Lisbon, but I am really enjoying it. Although this is my first time living outside Portugal for more than 2 weeks, I find this Chinese culture easy to adjust.

So how did you manage the cultural difference between Portugal and China? Maybe from different aspects, such as food, traffic, weather, and people in Shanghai?

I have to say that the food here is very different from what I used to eat. But I like to try out various local foods in Shanghai. My favorite is the Pan-Fried Bun Stuffed with Pork. It has meat inside and flour outside, when you bite it, hot water flows out. (Laughing) I really like it. About traffic, oh, I feel that it is a little bit dangerous to cross the road. I try to be cautious no matter the traffic light is red or green. The weather is ok. Actually, it is similar to Lisbon’s weather. At least, I don’t note the difference. I’m fine with this. People here do different things from what people in Portugal do. I noticed that many old people do exercise in the morning, back home nobody does that. I think it’s very fun to see! Also a lot of people ride bicycles to work every day, it’s very cool!

What tasks exactly do you have in Institute Pasteur of Shanghai?

Basically, I got some information in molecular and cellular biology techniques during my first week here, and learnt about some biochemical knowledge. Nowadays I’m helping Andy (Post-doc researcher at the Institut Pasteur of Shanghai) to do some research and experiments. Up to now, I’m doing things that Andy asked me to do. It is interesting, and I’m learning a lot.

How do you like it working this job? Does it build on your past experience of Master degree in Biomedical Engineering? If so, how?

I like this job. It is to a certain extent related to my experience in biomedical engineering. However, this job is more different than similar to my past experience. I learnt about molecular and cellular biology and immunology techniques, such as PCR, protein biochemistry, molecular cloning, cell culture and cell imaging. Here I have the opportunity not only to learn more about them, but also to use them in a practical way and gain experience. Mainly, what I’m improving is my knowledge in biochemistry, but in a more practical way than how I learned in school. Because this is different from what I used to study, it is something new and challenging that makes this job important for me. I would like to try out in different directions because this experience may help me in the future. This internship is what I was looking for.

Could you focus on your job while taking care of your life here?

Yes, definitely. My job is not so intense that I have no spare time, but the job is sometimes not easy, in terms of understanding what I’m doing and why I’m doing something. I think that I have the right amount of pressure that makes me manage both my work and my life quite well.

Do you have any plan after this internship experience in Shanghai? Will you go further in this area?

Yes, I will start my PhD in Healthcare Innovation in the University of Oxford in the coming October. This is, to some extent, related to what I’m doing here in Shanghai. So, I think that I will continue in this area.

Interviewer: Olivia Wen

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