Alumni case study: Afidalina Tumian

Alumni case study: Afidalina Tumian
Life Sciences Interface
Job title
Assistant Professor
International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Kuala Lumpur.

In what way was your DPhil important to your employer?

I am working in International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). It is a requirement for all academic staff to have a doctorate degree for confirmation into service.

In what ways have the skills and knowledge from your DPhil been useful in your current role?

I was lucky to have worked with some top Oxford scientists, including Prof Simon Myers, my DPhil supervisor. I enjoyed our intellectually stimulating meetings. He is the kind of supervisor who motivates student and bring out the best in them. As my thesis was on understanding the evolutionary aspect of meiotic recombination process, I was really fortunate to have Prof Gil McVean and Dr Chris Spencer as my examiners. It was very inspiring to observe first-hand their passion towards pushing scientific boundaries.

The rigorous training I received during my DPhil years has certainly helped me in supervising undergraduate and postgraduate research, applying and managing research grants, and better communicating and promoting our research to others.

Most Oxford academics I met were great teachers, who have definitely inspired me to become a good teacher to my own students.

What do you think has been of most value to you in undertaking a DPhil at Oxford?

Oxford has successfully groomed me to become a well-rounded person in facing the challenges in the academic world. Most importantly, the experiences I gathered while working with Prof Myers has not only broadened my scientific knowledge but also gave me confidence in speaking my mind and voicing opinions.

How do you think you benefited from being part of a cohort?

During the DTC days, most of the time we worked in groups. This way, I learned how to interact with people of diverse academic and cultural backgrounds in communicating scientific ideas. It was fascinating to experience in DTC how science works beyond any defined boundaries. Even while working on our own DPhil projects, while everyone was doing their own different thing, we continued exchanging valuable ideas and opinions.

What would you say to someone who was considering doing a DPhil at the DTC?

You won’t regret joining DTC. The programme helps you build a broad and strong foundation, and exposure to the latest state of the art research, before you decide what you really want to do for your DPhil.

In fact, I persuaded a Malaysian colleague, Dr Firdaus Wahab (DTC 2010 intake) to join the programme! I hope to see more Malaysians joining in future.

Do you have any fond memories about the DTC to share?

To me, DTC is like my family. I cherish every day 9-5 time spent at DTC and they made me feel at home.