Catching up with Biotechnology alumna Lim Qian Ru

10 Dec 2018

"When you are producing medical drugs, you realise that everything you are doing is meant for someone out there. You don't know who it is, but you do know that someone needs your drug and your drug might save them," shares Lim Qian Ru, who is currently a manufacturing biotechnologist at one of the largest pharmaceutical companies, Novartis. "My job does have a very indirect but very real impact on people's lives."

Qian Ru's entry into Novartis commenced even before graduation. She did her 7-month internship there, where she was given an overview of biologics processes from preparing risk assessments to the actual production of medical drugs. She remembers attending big-scale meetings with department heads when the process expert she was shadowing was on leave. "The other department heads were shocked to see an unfamiliar face sitting in and following up on items brought up at meeting! Now they all know me by name," Qian Ru shares with a laugh.

After her internship, Novartis reserved a slot for the motivated learner as she proved to be a good fit to the team. Today, in the downstream section of the production unit, Qian Ru ensures drug substances are free of impurities and ready to be shipped out to overseas drug product sites. The team also entrusts the creation of master batch records - which instruct operators about the manufacturing procedure - to Qian Ru under the guidance of senior biotechnologists and process experts. "This role is typically done by senior biotechnologists! I'm grateful for the support and opportunity given to me by my seniors. Thankfully, my internship gave me the opportunity to learn and gather experience in the job," Qian Ru explains.

For Qian Ru, being motivated to learn is an important attribute in her job. She concludes, "People here are supportive. They are willing to teach you if only you are willing to learn. It is also important to absorb fast as you have to learn engineering aspects of biopharmaceutics as well!"

DBT_Lim Qian Ru
Biotechnology alumna - Lim Qian Ru (Class of 2018)

This article first appears in SPIRIT Volume 02 2018.