“Nanoscience has a big future," says Thusaleni Ponniah, 22, a Bachelor of Science in Applied Chemistry student at UTP. According to Thusaleni, the ever-growing field of nanotechnology has opened up a new and endless frontier in science.
To further her research, Thusaleni has chosen Sojo University of Kumamoto, Japan for her internship. She says, “Because of UTP's close ties with a number of universities in Japan, I decided to go to Sojo University to prepare for my final year project."
Interestingly, Thusaleni is currently pursuing a research in bio-ceramic. She says, “For fractures and broken bone accidents, to join the broken bones back together, typically, metal plates and screws are implanted into the body."
“However, these materials are susceptible to corrosion and degradation. As a result, this might be detrimental to the patient's health. To overcome this, I'm looking for ways to replace metal screws and plates with bio-ceramic materials," she explains.
“Ceramic substances are already present in the human body, we can mend the broken bones with our own body components. Therefore, I'm looking at replicating the crystal synthesis process of the human body to help heal fractures and broken bones without the use of harmful metal," adds Thusaleni.
According to Thusaleni, the properties of ceramic have been important in the study of nanomedicine. To this end, her lab experience at the Japanese university was pivotal for her research. “There, I got to experience not just a different lab culture, but different ways of arriving at solutions," she says.
During her stay in Japan, Thusaleni was accompanied by Mihiro Oshino, 22, a Bachelor of Nanoscience student to help her acclimatisation. “Because I was an exchange student, my supervisor noted the language barrier I was facing. As a result, they paired me up with Mihiro to help me get around the university's lab facilities."
Thusaleni's supervisor, Prof Tomoshige Ryuichi, is a nanoscience lecturer. She says, “From the exposure, especially the sharing of ideas with my supervisor, this has helped me to make up my mind about choosing my major. I believe nanoscience has a big future."
In addition, one Japanese custom truly endeared Thusaleni to the Japanese way of working. “Every month, they have dinner together with all the students. Although eating out is quite expensive in Japan, they do this to increase the bonding between the lecturers and students there."
“Usually, my supervisor will invite his industry friends to join us for the dinner. One evening, a friend of his, a CEO of an engineering company joined us for the dinner. It was a really great opportunity for us as we got to learn more about the industry."
According to Thusaleni, from the engagement, last year, five of Prof. Tomoshige's students landed a job with his friend's company.
Onto Japanese working culture, Thusaleni says, “The Japanese are really workaholic, I didn't see anyone wasting time. The Japanese, they really value team work. They appreciate every single work of the students here."
“Previously, there was this chemical engineering student from UTP who came here for her internship. Although she only managed to carry out the initial part of the research, her name was still published in the research journal," she adds.
Last but not least, Thusaleni says that she also got the chance to go to a few science conferences during her stay in Japan. Interestingly, she says, “When I told the people I came into contact with that I was from UTP, they really welcomed me. They really recognised the quality of UTP's graduates."
Indeed, Thusaleni is another prime example of UTP's profound career connected learning and industry collaboration. From the work we do, we foster long-term relationships with our global social-impact partners to prepare our students, people and researchers as global citizens.
As a leading university in engineering, science and technology, our graduates are driven to exceed their professional objectives and contribute towards overcoming capability deficit across all sectors and industries.