Dr Karen Ng Lee Peng moved from Malaysia to complete her PhD at the Institute of Dentistry between 2014 – 2019 and is now working in the role of a Senior Research Officer.
(Oral Cancer Studies PhD, 2019)
Why did you decide to do your postgraduate research at Queen Mary University? To be honest, it was a coincidence! My former supervisor at University of Malaya happened to have a collaborator at Queen Mary University, and through her collaborator, I was introduced to Prof Ken Parkinson at Institute of Dentistry.
How would you describe your overall experience doing your research at Queen Mary University?My overall experience doing research at QMUL has been a great one. I really like the laboratory facilities and the good vibes of my fellow colleagues. I love how my supervisor has always been so encouraging and sharing his great knowledge with his students.
What would you say was the most important lesson you learnt while at Queen Mary University and how has this shaped your perspective about life?I have learnt to be open, humble and have a teachable heart. I really admired my supervisor who is ever so hands-on in the laboratory and showed willingness to share his vast knowledge throughout my PhD and beyond. These has shaped me to always be open and humble on the knowledge I learnt and to help my juniors and fellow peers wherever and whenever possible.
Could you share how your career has progressed from when you completed your studies until the present day?I have been promoted to a higher position as a Senior Research Officer with greater responsibilities. This position has certainly opened up more opportunities for me to collaborate with researchers from other fields.
What do you love most about what you do and how does it allow you to explore your passions?I love and enjoy sharing knowledge with others. Being a senior scientist, I am able to lead and share my experiences with my fellow peers.
From your experience, what advice would you give to current Masters’ degree students who are considering enrolling in a PhD programme thereafter?Go for it! I used to self-doubt and felt hesitant to pursue a PhD. I am glad that I went ahead to do it. Even though the journey was full of challenges but is definitely a rewarding one! It is never a loss to pursue new knowledge and be an expert in a subject matter.
What would be your most helpful research tip for prospective Queen Mary students?Be creative and explore the opportunities available. Make good friends/ networks, as they may be your potential collaborators in the future. Do not forget to enjoy your PhD journey!
Finally, how do you maintain work life balance in your routine?Tough question! Honestly, I do not know whether I really have a work life balance but I always try my best. It was tough as I have to juggle between my family (including a young toddler) and study at the same time. At times, I do work until late. I am blessed to have a supportive husband to shoulder on the responsibilities and caring for the family. I do try to have short family trips whenever possible and travel around UK during summer time.
This profile was conducted by Alumni Engagement Officer, Sara Gazi. If you would like to get in touch with Dr Karen Ng Lee Peng or engage her in your work, please contact Sara at firstname.lastname@example.org.