Yu-Kai Wang

B Med Chem (Hons) (2015)

What is your current position, and what do you do?
I am currently an analytical chemist/first aid officer at Advanced Analytical Australia/Symbio Laboratories. My main responsibility is to carry out the extraction and quantification of marine biotoxins in seafood produce before they are sold to the general population.

Describe your study/employment pathway so far
Graduating with a medicinal chemistry background, I was first employed as a quality assurance officer at a complimentary pharmaceutical company. Here I would be dealing with the routine check-up on raw materials, manufacturing environment and instruments. The data collected during the check-up would be typed into a report for external auditors to assess and hopefully give us the green light to continue manufacturing.

With a particular eye for detail, I moved on to become an analytical chemist where I first learnt how to extract marine biotoxins from the sample matrix. I was fortunate enough to learn the instrumentation, and report filing after 6 months of perfecting the technique in extraction. The laboratory also offered a lot of unique work experience where I would be able to help in different areas, including microbiology, inorganic, first aid, and quality assurance.

From where I am now, I am looking to transition into a laboratory manger, later on when I progress further in my career.

What achievement are you most proud of?
I am proud of the work that I do, and how I keep Australia’s seafood produce safe for the population to consume.

What do you believe are the greatest attributes of a successful scientist?
Passion for your work, tenacity for the challenges, and creativity to think of a solution out of the box. I genuinely believe that when an individual has all these qualities they are able to overcome any problems they may face in their life time.
What helps you achieve a work-life balance?
It is a common saying that satisfying your mind, body and soul gives you great fulfilment. Once I started working I quickly noticed how little time I get to spend with others or my hobbies. So I’ve set myself a goal to organise one interesting event every weekend, weather that is to catch up with friends or go hiking to fulfil the “soul” aspect of the trinity. I spend the rest of the weekend to rest up my mind and complete mindless tasks such as chores around the house. Finally I engage myself in some form of sport, to keep myself fit, whenever I can find the chance to.

What advice would you give to students starting their science careers?
While the theory and practicals you learn and experience at university are without a doubt important. I found that it was the friends that I have made, and the supervisors I’ve followed during my time at university that shaped my career the most. Therefore, I would advise students to make friends from multiple different disciplinary and keep close contacts with the supervisors they have chosen.

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