JING Alumni Interview: Ik Shin Chin, Manchester ECMC

11 Jun 2024

For June's JING alumni interview we spoke to Dr Ik Shin Chin, who is currently undergoing a fellowship with the Advanced Immune Cell Therapy team in the Christie Hospital. She tells us a bit about her career journey and how she has benefited from being involved in JING.

Can you give us a brief summary of your career?
I studied medicine in the University of Birmingham and greatly enjoyed the cancer biology modules. Since then I knew I would like to pursue a career in oncology. After graduating from medical school, I was able to gain some experience in managing oncology patients during my junior doctor training in the West Midlands. I completed my core medical training and started my specialist registrar training in medical oncology in both tertiary and district general hospitals which was a useful working experience. Whilst undergoing my clinical training I did a part time MSc in clinical oncology held by Barts Cancer Centre in London as I wanted to gain more experience in cancer research. Although it was a challenging period, I was able to further develop my research knowledge and passed with Distinction. I had the privilege of pursuing my PhD with the Cancer Research UK Birmingham Centre and thoroughly enjoyed my fellowship.This experience has motivated me to pursue a clinical academic career and I’m currently undergoing a fellowship with the Advanced Immune and Cell Therapy team in the Christie Hospital in Manchester.
You attended the JING: Training the Next Generation event in 2019, what was your highlight of the day?
Having the opportunity to present my proposed research project and obtain valuable feedback from PPI representatives and senior faculty members was a good learning experience, which helped me make improvements to the project. It made me also realise that writing a lay summary is certainly not easy!
You have recently stepped down from the JING steering committee, what did you gain from being part of the committee?
Being part of the JING steering committee has been a very valuable experience in both self-development and having the opportunity to work with extremely talented and inspiring early career researchers. We had the great advantage of organising events in a well-supported environment and pulling together expertise from committee members of various professional backgrounds and from different academic institutions. The ability to network and learn from researchers with different scientific and clinical experiences has hugely helped my early academic career.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career so far?
This is difficult to choose! I have been very lucky to be able to meet very supportive colleagues at different points of my career so far. I think one that has particularly stuck with me was in fact given by a faculty member at a recent JING event, which is that every individual has their own journey in forming their own academic career and not to be disheartened if it’s not the most conventional route followed.
What advice would you give to the 2024 JING Cohort?
I would say to get to know and speak to other early career researchers and faculty members who are all approachable and supportive teachers and mentors. It is also useful to interact with researchers of different disciplines to widen your network and research opportunities. It is a certainly a great training and academic network to be part of so definitely embrace it and enjoy the process!