UMBI Establishes Ties with 3 Institutions in Jakarta

The management team of UMBI went on an official visit to Jakarta, Indonesia, on the 2nd to 3rd of October 2017. The purpose of the visit was to explore possibilities for research collaboration between UMBI and institutions in Indonesia, and also to introduce UMBI as a potential institute for further studies for Indonesian graduates. This effort is in line with UKM’s strategy to network with our ASEAN neighbours to enhance mutual collaboration.

The team from UMBI visited the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology (EIMB) on the morning of 2nd October, and was given a warm welcome by the acting director and senior research fellow, Dr. Safarina G Malik, and the senior scientists of the institute.  The EIMB building has a long history since 1888 where it started as a research laboratory for pathology and bacteriology. Christiaan Eijkman, a Nobel Laureate, was the first director of the lab and from where the name came from. EIMB was formally formed in July 1992. It is a non-profit, government-funded research institute conducting research in the fields of human genetics, infectious diseases and genetic biodiversity. After a warm session of discussion, our host brought us around to see the various laboratories and facilities.

In the afternoon, the team visited the Rumah Sakit Anak dan Bunda Harapan Kita (RSAB) which is a public hospital and specializing in maternal and paediatric care, and also functions as a teaching hospital for the Faculty of Medicine, University of Indonesia. Conveniently located next to the RSAB is the Heart Centre. The meeting cum discussion was attended by the director of RSAB himself, Dr. Omo Abdul Madjid, and 10 other clinicians including the neonatologist Dr. Jo Edy Siswanto and the clinical geneticist, Dr. Lydia Pratanu. We were then shown the neonatal intensive care unit and the genetics laboratory.

On the following day, the team visited the Fakultas Kedokteran Universitas Indonesia (FKUI) and its new research arm, the Indonesian Medical Education and Research Institute (IMERI). IMERI has a new building (actually a twin tower complete with a Sky Bridge as well!) and we were told that we were the first team from Malaysia that they had hosted since moving into the new building 6 months ago. The visit was hosted by Professor Dr. Ratna Sitompul, the Dean of FKUI, and Dr Budi Wiweko, the Manager of Research and Social Services of FKUI. More than 15 researchers joined the meeting. IMERI is managed as an independent research unit under FKUI, and consists of 6 and 14 clusters for education and research, respectively. The 4 main research thrust areas at IMERI are infectious diseases, non-communicable diseases, cancer and medical education.

For each visit, presentations were given by the team and the hosts of each institution, followed by discussions about possible research collaboration. The team was later given a tour of the facilities of each venue visited. Both sides look forward to future collaboration and networking. We were really humbled by the grand welcome and the wonderful hospitality accorded to us at all 3 institutions. It was indeed a fruitful visit and the prospect for collaboration is indeed very bright.