Forensic anthropology graduate Tang Yi-Hua plays a role in helping people to see again through her works as a technician at the National Eye Bank of Taiwan.
MSc Forensic Anthropology
|Year of graduation
Your time at the University
I’ve been fascinated by forensic anthropology since I was around 15 years old when I first saw the autobiography of Prof William M Bass, the founder of the ‘Body Farm’, a facility for the systematic study of the decomposition of human remains. The fact that it wasn’t just forensic pathologists and coroners who could conduct physical examinations was fresh and new to me.
I studied medical biotechnology and laboratory science in my bachelor degree. After graduation, I knew deep down that I would never give up the desire to pursue the forensic field. Therefore, I applied for the masters degree at the University of Edinburgh, which is one of the top universities in the world. The experiences inside and outside the campus were challenging but also exciting. I gained the professional knowledge I’ve long dreamed about in my life. I also joined a workshop organized by Prof Elena Kranioti in Ibiza. The experiences in the workshop provided a chance for me to utilize the professional knowledge I learned in class.
I made genuine friendships with classmates. I also founded a Facebook group for all Taiwanese studying at Edinburgh University to exchange information and organize events in order to help all Taiwanese, not just with academia, but housing, second-hand daily necessaries and blending into life in Scotland. The journey I took in Edinburgh is one of the most exciting memories of my life.
Your experiences since leaving the University
After I finished my masters degree at the University of Edinburgh, I decided to go back to Taiwan for a break. I worked as a medical technologist for two years. However, I realized I still loved work related to death, which might sound weird and creepy.
At first, I applied to be a research assistant of a national skin bank project in National Taiwan University Hospital, where I learned how to retrieve, process and preserve skin from donors. After that, I got the chance to join the National Eye Bank of Taiwan (NEBT) as an eye bank technician.
NEBT was founded by Prof Hu Fung-Rong. Prof Hu is one of most famous ophthalmologists in the world, with remarkable research achievements. The main tasks of a National Eye Bank of Taiwan technician are to retrieve eyeballs/corneas from donors, evaluate corneas, preserve corneas and coordinate with donors and recipient hospitals. I am also responsible for overseas communication and SOP (standard operating procedure) translation in the National Eye Bank of Taiwan. This year, our eye bank got official quality certification from an association named SightLife, a non-profit global health organization focused on eliminating corneal blindness. The milestone achievement of quality certification for our team effort to achieve global best practices is commendable and so important for quality leadership in Asia. Our eye bank will continue to help patients who need corneas and also aim to provide DSAEK and DMEK (partial thickness corneal) grafts to surgeons. Our goal will be providing sufficient corneas for local needs in Taiwan and become the leading eye bank model in Asia.
Our eye bank will continue to help patients who need corneas...
Step out your comfort zone, don’t be afraid of trying new things. Do things you love instead of just making a living. Even though it’s hard.
National Eye Bank of Taiwan (external link)
Yi-Hua's profile was written before the UK COVID-19 lockdown.