So You Want To Be a Doctor?

This workshop should be useful to students aiming to be a medical doctor. (Note the ticket prices, this event requires ticket for admission.)

Interested students may also check out our previous blog post on BMAT Book Recommendations for NTU Medicine.


Date: 21 July 2018 (Saturday)
Time: 9:30am to 12:30pm (F&B at tea break)
Venue: NUS Shaw Foundation Alumni House, 11 Kent Ridge Drive, Singapore 119244

Calling all IP, JC, polytechnic and university students!

Join us at So You Want To Be a Doctor?, a half-day medical seminar on Saturday, 21 July 2018, from 9:30am to 12:30pm, featuring panel discussions, inspiring keynotes and networking opportunities.

Our seminar provides a unique opportunity for prospective medical students to hear from clinical professors, network with doctors who’ve gone onto diverse careers, and learn about the many job options available in healthcare.

This seminar is targeted at IP, JC, polytechnic and university students, as well as anyone interested in pursuing careers in healthcare, such as biomedical research, allied health, entrepreneurship, technology in medicine, public health and humanitarian projects.

So You Want To Be a Doctor? covers topics such as:
– How will doctors practice in the future?
– Is medicine for me?
– Is clinical research for me?
– The path less wandered: A chat with Dr. Benjamin Seet


09:30 AM: Keynote – “How will doctors practice in the future?”
Professor Wong Tien Yin, Medical Director, Singapore National Eye Centre

09:50 AM: Panel #1 – “Is medicine for me?”
Assistant Professor Isaac Liu Desheng, National University of Singapore
Dr. Tiah Ling, Emergency Medicine Physician, Changi General Hospital
Dr. Kumaran Rasappan, Senior Orthopedic Surgical Resident, Tan Tock Seng Hospital

10:30 AM: Panel #2 – “Is clinical research for me?”
Assistant Professor Swaine Chen, National University of Singapore
Assistant Professor Chester Drum, National University of Singapore

11:10 AM: Tea break

11:40 AM: The path less wandered: A chat with Dr. Benjamin Seet
Dr. Benjamin Seet, Executive Director, Biomedical Research Council, Agency for Science, Technology and Research

12:20 PM: Closing note


Professor Wong Tien Yin (keynote talk)

Prof. Wong Tien Yin is medical director of the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC). He is also deputy group CEO (Research & Education) of SingHealth and academic chair of the Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences Academic Clinical Programme at Duke-NUS Medical School. Prof. Wong completed medical school at the National University of Singapore as a 1987 President’s Scholar. He studied on fellowships at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, US, and the University of Sydney, Australia. He obtained his MPH and PhD degrees from the Johns Hopkins University, US.

Dr. Benjamin Seet (keynote talk)

Dr. Benjamin Seet is executive director of the Biomedical Research Council (BMRC) at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Prior to joining A*STAR, he served as chief medical officer of the United Nations (UN) Department of Peacekeeping Operations in New York. He oversaw medical support for UN personnel in 16 post-conflict countries. Dr. Seet also served with the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) for more than 20 years before retiring as chief of the SAF Medical Corps at the rank of Brigadier-General.

Assistant Professor Isaac Liu Desheng (panel #1)

Asst. Prof. Isaac Liu Desheng is a pediatric nephrologist who specializes in dialysis and renal transplantation. In addition to his research on kidney disease, Asst. Prof. Liu is the chief doctor of the Shaw-National Kidney Foundation Children’s Kidney Centre Annual Camp. He is currently an assistant professor (clinician investigator) at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. For his achievements, he was awarded the 2017 Singapore Youth Award, the nation’s highest accolade for youth.

Dr. Tiah Ling (panel #1)

Dr. Tiah Ling is an emergency medical physician consultant in the accident and emergency department at Changi General Hospital. Prior to joining Changi General Hospital, Dr. Tiah participated in the METASHARP project, where she provided technical support, monitoring and evaluation of health facilities in Afghanistan. In 2009, she spent three months in Ghana as a program coordinator in the ‘Systems Improvement at District Hospitals and Regional Training of Emergency Care’ program (sidHARTe). Dr. Tiah received her Masters in Public Health (MPH) degree from the Johns Hopkins University, US.

Dr. Kumaran Rasappan (panel #1)

Dr. Kumaran Rasappan is a senior orthopedic surgical resident with Tan Tock Seng Hospital. In 2012, he became the first Singaporean to scale the summit of Mount Everest for a charitable cause, raising over S$40,000 for needy patients. Since then, Dr. Kumaran has scaled the heights of K2 and Makalu, the second and fifth highest peaks in the world respectively, in an effort to raise funds for the Home Nursing Foundation’s program which aims to address the psycho-social and emotional needs of caregivers. His fundraising effort is titled “No Mountain Too High.”

Assistant Professor Swaine Chen (panel #2)

Asst. Prof. Swaine Chen is an assistant professor of medicine at the National University of Singapore and a senior research scientist at the Genome Institute of Singapore. His research interests include the application of genomics to understanding molecular mechanisms of urinary tract infection, particularly those caused by Escherichia coli. He received a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry and mathematics from Harvard University, US, and an MD-PhD degree from the Stanford University School of Medicine, US.

Assistant Professor Chester Drum (panel #2)

Asst. Prof. Chester Drum is an assistant professor at the National University of Singapore, a consultant cardiologist at the National University Hospital and director of the Clinical Trial Innovation Lab at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research. He received his MD-PhD degree from the University of Chicago, US, and trained at the University of California, San Diego, US, and Harvard Medical School, US. Asst. Prof. Drum has over 20 years of clinical experience in managed care, private, public and academic healthcare settings and holds multiple patents.

About the organizer

Combining savvy communication with technical rigor, Wildtype Media Group is Asia’s leading STEM-focused media company, spanning digital, print, custom publishing and events.

Brands under Wildtype Media Group include the flagship Asian Scientist Magazine and Supercomputing Asia, award-winning titles available in print and online. Through its Asian Scientist Intelligence consulting division, Wildtype Media Group provides a full suite of marketing and communication services to industry and academic clients hoping to engage Asia.

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From Medical Doctor to Math Professor

Just read about this rather amazing biography: From a medical doctor, Hau-tieng Wu pursued a Ph.D. in math, and is now a math professor at Duke. Quite an interesting transition, that is quite rare, possibly less than 100 such cases in the world. Most mathematicians know little about medicine, and most medical doctors know little about math. It is rare to have someone know both fields.

Listen to your heartbeat with a stethoscope and you’ll hear a rhythmic lub-dub, lub-dub that repeats roughly 60 to 100 times a minute, 100,000 times a day.

But the normal rhythm of a healthy heart isn’t as steady as you might think, says Hau-tieng Wu, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor of mathematics and statistical science who joined the Duke University faculty this year.

Rather than beating like a metronome, heart rhythm varies depending on whether you’re asleep or awake, sitting or jogging, calm or driving in rush hour. Breathing rate, brain activity and other physiological signals vary in much the same way, Wu says.

He should know. Before becoming a professor, Wu trained as a medical doctor in Taiwan. In his fifth year of medical school he was doing clinical rotations in the hospital when he was struck by the complex fluctuations in heart rhythm during anesthesia and surgery.

Where some saw noisy patterns — such as the spikes and dips on an electrocardiogram, or ECG — Wu saw hidden information and mathematical problems. “I realized there are so many interesting medical data that aren’t fully analyzed,” Wu said.

When a patient is in the hospital, sensors continuously monitor their heart rate and rhythm, breathing, oxygen saturation, blood pressure, brain activity and other vital signs.

The signals are sent to computers, which analyze and display the results and sound an alarm if anything veers outside normal ranges.

An ECG, for example, translates the heart’s electrical activity into a squiggly line of peaks and valleys whose frequency, size and shape can change from one moment to the next.

Wu is using techniques from differential geometry and harmonic analysis to detect patterns hidden in these oscillating signals and quantify how they change over time.

His methods have been applied to issues in cardiology, obstetrics, anesthesiology, sleep research and intensive care.

The ideal Singapore JC subject combination for applying to Medicine

Why Additional Maths (A Maths) is important for entering Medicine:

Pathway: A Maths (O Level) –> H2 Maths (A Level) –> NUS Medicine


Quote: While NUS and NTU Medicine does not (officially) require H2 Maths (ie. ‘A’ level Maths), some other (overseas) Medical schools might. And not having H2 Maths might (unofficially) disadvantage your chances, even for NUS and NTU.

Therefore (assuming you intend to fight all the way for your ambition), your safest bet would be to (fight for the opportunity) to take both H2 Bio and H2 Math. The ideal Singapore JC subject combination for applying to Medicine (in any University) is :

H2 Chemistry, H2 Biology, H2 Mathematics


Quote: pre-requisites for nus medicine will be H2 Chem and H2 bio or physics.

as for what’s best,
H2 math is almost a must since without it you’ll be ruling out a lot of ‘back-up courses’