Category Archives: Hepatitis

From Thailand! The transformation of a clinician into a researcher

This fabulous story comes from Dr. Myo Nyein Aung a clinical researcher who worked at the Bangkok School of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Thailand. Here Dr. Aung describes how he developed his research ideas and write-up as a manuscript Observation of genotype C infected chronic hepatitis B patients in clinical practice which is now published in the December 2011 Issue of JIDC.  

I love this story. It highlights the importance of scientific organization of research data as well as the value of presenting your work to your peers.  By formulating your own data for presentations it forces one to view their work from other perspectives, including as a reviewer. This view-point can lead to new developments in the thesis and paths to follow. 

Thank you so much Dr. Myo Aung for sharing your story.

Alyson    

The brief story of clinical research at Trop-Med, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand

Writing this paper for the JIDC reminded me of my times at the School of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok. This was the place and time where I was transformed into a clinical researcher.

Building a Story!

I still remember my advisor asking me to make PowerPoint presentations of the longitudinal data of all the cases I had worked on. To plot everything—viral load, ALT, AFP and genotype—in a single slide for all cases was not an easy job. It took me one week. Finally, after a Monday clinic, we met to view and discuss the slides together. During the discussion, many topics were covered. This was where I thought of the idea for my research article that is now published in JIDC.  It was during that discussion!

My adviser Associate Professor Dr. Wattana Leowattana while I am defending my thesis

What was my Research Question? – The Search

Every Monday I would go to the liver clinic at Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Bangkok. It was a very special clinic with many hepatitis B and C patients. Here I searched for my research question by reading many up-to-date articles and seeing patients every week. Many areas were interesting to explore in the clinical research of hepatitis B.  It took me almost one year to get the research question. 

Building the Story – I didn’t do it alone!

I did not collect the data in the patient’s record charts all myself. I had two research assistants who could speak English as well as I spoke Thai.  They were very helpful. With their assistance, we scanned hundreds of chronic hepatitis B medical charts to screen the eligibility criteria. We explored the old archived laboratory records to get the very first viral load of the patients. We faced many kinds of challenges to accomplish this research. Importantly, this work began my training for international collaborations and dealing with study site hospitals. Research in clinical practice taught me far more than that I learned in epidemiology and research methodology classes.

2008-2009 batch students of MSc and PhD tropical medicine international class , at the Wai Khru Day ceremony of Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Thailand

All the ideas were overwhelming at the time of writing the protocol and paper. The balance of ideas and feasibility would determine how quickly we could do research and how well it could be accomplished. My advisors and I were strict on eligibility criteria. The samples were difficult to collect. Time was limited. Funds were gone. I had to defend my thesis. I had to write my manuscript.

The Finished Manuscript

My paper describes  genotype C chronic hepatitis B as we see and treat the patients at the hepatitis clinic every follow-up. Moreover, I wanted to point out the carcinogenic potential of the most prevalent genotype in Thailand. We worked out many of the caveats including adjusting for sample size.  A scientifically sound hypothesis was generated. There were many cycles of rejections and resubmissions, reanalysis and amendment. Finally I could present my ideas and my work through the Journal of Infection in Developing Countries. Thank you, JIDC.

With my same batch and junior class mates at JITMM, Joint International Tropical Medicine Meeting, 2009: Molecular scientists (ladies) and clinical researchers ( gentle men)

Sincerely,

Dr. Myo Nyein Aung

Dr. Myo Nyein Aung

My name is Dr. Myo Nyein Aung.
I am a Myanmar doctor. I was born in Magway, a central city in Myanmar.
I studied for my MD at Mandalay, second capital of Myanmar.
I was taught to be a clinical researcher at Bangkok School of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Thailand. This paper is the third paper I could publish within six months of my research-based Master. My JIDC blog post is about the idea generation and process of doing my research at School of Tropical Medicine. Currently, I am working as international collaborative researcher, author, reviewer and editorial in medical journals.

Happy New Year 2009 at Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Thailand

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