23 and a Top 2% Researcher: Shin Jie's Story

Shin Jie

It is no small feat to make it onto Stanford University’s top 2% researcher list. Researchers on the list have greatly impacted their field or discipline through their studies, evidenced by an impressive citation record. Sunway University’s Shin Jie not only made it onto this list, but he did so while still a student at Sunway University! At 23 years of age, his achievement is truly remarkable. “I was shocked at first. It never crossed my mind that I would achieve this as a mere master's student.” Shin Jie attributes this achievement to a combination of effort, guidance and a little bit of luck. But where did it all begin?

When deciding where to pursue his degree, Shin Jie quickly set his sights on Sunway University. “Sunway University has always been my first choice because it uniquely offers the undergraduate Biology with Psychology degree, a combination not available at other universities in Malaysia. Upon completion of his degree, he opted to remain at Sunway and pursue a Master’s degree in Life Sciences, specialising in neurosciences. “My decision to stay was not just about convenience but the genuine appreciation and support I received from my lecturers and the university.”

Perhaps the most important part of Shin Jie’s journey was his genuine interest in research. It started with his interest in Parkinson’s disease, which he researched for his master’s degree. Through this venture into neuroscience, he became fascinated with viruses that are able to infect neurons. This pulled him into the field of infectious diseases. It would be this field that propelled his research career further.

“During the pandemic, laboratories were shut down. I had ample time to nurture my existing science blog revolving around neurosciences, including neuron-infecting viruses. Naturally, I began writing about COVID-19 and long-COVID, a post-COVID syndrome.” Realising that the existing academic literature lacked information on long-covid, Shin Jie was motivated to write a review paper about the topic. He was able to do so using research information that he had gathered for his blog. The quality of his paper pulled it through the arduous peer review stage, and it was published in a reputable journal. The amount of citations this research received significantly contributed to his position as a top 2% researcher. Besides this paper, Shin Jie has authored more than 10 other papers.

As for what motivates him to write these papers, Shin Jie claims that he sees writing as a form of art. “This domain is where art meets science, engaging both your creative and intellectual minds.” He developed this sentiment partially due to his lecturers, Associate Professor Dr Audrey and Associate Professor Dr Jactty. By entrusting him with an academic writing project during his undergraduate years, they gave Shin Jie the confidence and self-belief he needed to write. For this, he is immensely grateful. “I believe writing is one of the skills that can bring you anywhere when mastered correctly. Almost all high-end careers — academia, law, or business — demand good prose.” 

Shin Jie's story is an inspiration to all young researchers. He shows that it is possible to achieve great things, even while you are still a student. You can make a real impact on the world with hard work, dedication, and a passion for your field.