Eight UKM Researchers Appointed As Fellows Of The Academy Of Sciences

WEDNESDAY, 25 JULY 2012 16:21

By Saiful Bahri Kamaruddin

BANGI, 23 July 2012 – Eight researchers from The National University of Malaysia (UKM) have been made Fellows of the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) since May.

They are among 24 new fellows appointed by ASM this year.

Four are from the Faculty of Science and Technology: Professor Dr Yang Farina Abd Aziz, Professor Dr Joy Jacqueline Pereira, Professor Dr R Wickneswari and Professor Dr Mohd Shafeea Leman.

The fifth Fellow, Professor Ir Dr Mohd Jailani Mohd Noor, was from the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment but is now on secondment to Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Malacca (UTEM) as its Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation).

The other three are Prof Dr Normah Mohd Noor, the Director of UKM’s Institute of Systems Biology (IMBIOSIS), Prof Dr Salmaan H Inayat Hussain, Professor of Toxicology and the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Prof Ir Dr Wan Ramli Wan Daud, the Director of UKM’s Fuel Cell Institute and Professor of Chemical Engineering at the Department of Chemical & Process Engineering, Faculty of Engineering.

ASM is a statutory government body formed to encourage and heighten excellence in Science, Engineering and Technology for the development of the nation and for public benefit.

A Fellow is appointed among Malaysians based on the individual’s achievements in Science, Engineering and Technology which are considered of extraordinary merit.

Prof Yang Farina is attached to the Centre for the Study of Chemistry Sciences and Food Technology, Faculty of Science and Technology.

She had done a study on metal ions, especially tin and reportedly found the possibility of a complex from that element that could be applied as an anti-tumour agent.

Her group’s research aims at finding whether organotin complexes are toxic and can be used for medication. The group has managed to synthesize more that 150 new complexes so far.

Prof Wickneswari is a Plant Genetics and Biotechnology researcher. She and some 14 other scientists had worked since 2002 to produce a variety of rice named UKMRC9 which not only can increase padi yield but also has properties with low gylcaemic index suitable for diabetics.

Prof Joy Pereira is the Deputy Director of the Southeast Asia Disaster Prevention Research Institute of UKM (SEADPRI-UKM) and Principal Fellow and Lecturer at UKM’s Institute for Environment and Development (LESTARI).

She is currently heading six research projects on the socio-economic impact of the climate and environment.

SEADPRI-UKM was established in June 2008 to address crucial challenges on disaster risk reduction in the Southeast Asian region.

Prof Mohd Shafeea is a researcher at the Institute of Environment and Development (Lestari) and has done research on the forests of Langkawi.

He was chairman of the Langkawi Research Centre (PPL) in 2005 before becoming the Head of Geological Heritage Malaysia in 2006 which does research in developing the concept of geological conservation that introduces geological resources and landscapes as components of Mother Nature for preservation.

Prof Jailani had undertaken research in engineering sciences, mechanical engineering and acoustic engineering. He was also project leader in the Development of MEMS Instrumentation and Diagnostic Systems for Automotive Applications. MEMS is microelectromechanical, or the electronics of very small devices, at the nano or microscopic level.

Prof Normah’s work on cryopreservation and in vitro propagation of tropical fruit species (especially citrus, garcinia and nephelium) with recalcitrant seeds has resulted in advancement of knowledge about and the techniques for long-term ex situ conservation and micro-propagation of the species.

She has also studied the characteristics of baccaurrea species seeds and cryo-storage of their embryonic axes. Additional work involved conservation of nepenthes species (pitcher plants) an endangered species using cryopreservation techniques.

Prof Salmaan was a recipient of the Visiting Scientist Fellowship of the Japan Society for Promotion of Science (JSPS-VCC), Visiting Scientist Fellowship to Chiba University, Kyoto University and Okayama University, Japan in 2006. He has done research on the toxicity of Quinone, a class of organic compounds that are formally derived from aromatic compounds such as benzene or naphthalene.

He is also an advisory Committee Member of the United Nations University International Institute for Global Health.

Prof Wan Ramli pioneered fuel cell technology studies at UKM with the hope of producing indigenous fuelcells and hydrogen energy technology.

The Fuel Cell Institute was established in 2005 as an independent research and development administrative unit of UKM. It officially began operations following Prof Wan Ramli appointment as director.

It is the first Malaysian research institute to conduct studies on fuel cell and hydrogen energy.