Speakers

Professor Douglas Gordon WALKER
Special Contract Professor
Shiga University of Medical Science, Japan.

Douglas Gordon Walker currently is a Special Contract Professor at the Molecular Neuroscience Research Center in Shiga University of Medical Science, JAPAN, and also an adjunct Research Professor at the Neurodegenerative Disease Research Center in Arizona State University, U.S.A. He received his Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia (UBC), CANADA, and has held positions at UBC, Sun Health Research Institute and Arizona State University. His research has focused on Molecular neuropathology in neurodegenerative diseases, in particular, Neuroinflammation in Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease and the biology of human microglia. Dr. Walker was a member of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant review committees for many years, and has been has been active as a reviewer for various other granting agencies in USA, Canada and Europe, and as a journal peer reviewer for many high-impact journals focusing on neuroscience. He has held research grants from NIH, Alzheimer’s Association, Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and other US agencies.

 

 

Meharvan Singh, PhD
Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Neuroscience, University of North Texas Health Science Centre
Interim Executive Director, Institute for Healthy Aging
Interim Director, Center for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Disease Research

 
Dr. Meharvan “Sonny” Singh left Columbia University Medical Center in New York to join UNT Health Science Center in 2001, and is currently Professor of Pharmacology and Neuroscience, and Director for the Institute for Healthy Aging, under which is housed the Center for Neuroscience Discovery and the Center for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Disease Research.   Dr. Singh has spent most of his professional career focusing on how hormones, like estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, affect the brain, particularly within the context of brain aging and such degenerative diseases as Alzheimer’s disease. His funded programs of research have led to numerous publications that have helped shape our current understanding of how hormones affect the brain. Dr. Singh has also leveraged his program of research to support the training of students and postdoctoral fellows, which is in addition to serving as director of a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-sponsored T32 training grant, where the next generation of researchers are afforded the opportunity to train in the area of the Neurobiology of Aging.

His commitment to research and the education of the next generation of research scientists has been recognized through several awards, including the Outstanding Faculty Member Award in 2006, the President’s Research Educator Award in 2012, the Health Care Hero Award from the Fort Worth Business Press in 2013, and the Edward E. Elko Award for Distinguished Service to the Graduate Student Association in 2017.

 

 

Mohd Hanafi Ahmad Damanhuri, PhD
Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine UKM, Level 17, Pre-Clinical Building, UKM Medical Center, Jalan Yaacob Latif, Bandar Tun Razak, Cheras, 56000 Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA. Phone: 603-91459551, Fax: 603-91459546. Email: hanafi.damanhuri@ppukm.ukm.edu.my


Dr. Hanafi currently holds dual position in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM).  He is a lecturer at Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and he is also the current Principal of Tun Dr Ismail Residential College. He graduated from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia with Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences (Hons.) in 2006 before pursuing his postgraduate study at Macquarie University, Sydney Australia and graduated with PhD in Molecular Neuroscience in 2012. Dr. Hanafi was the recipient of IBRO/APRC Research Exchange Fellowship Award for 2015 where he went to Brain Mind Research Institute (BMRI), University of Sydney, Australia for his fellowship training. Dr Hanafi has a lot of interest in understanding how aging affects the brain signaling and the molecular changes associated with brain aging. He is currently investigating the molecular changes in the brain regions associated with cognitive functions by using the state-of-the-art omics approaches. He is also interested to understand the effect of aging in controlling feeding response. Apart from that, he is also working on a project that is looking at the effect of palm oil tocotrienol supplementation on the cognitive functions of transgenic Alzheimer’s disease (AD) mouse model. He has published a number of papers in peer-reviewed international journals including PLoS One, Journal of Neurochemistry and Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. He has several research grants and is currently involved in many research projects and supervision of undergraduate medical students and postgraduate students in UKM.




Norzana Abd Ghafar, PhD

Associate Professor, Head Department of Anatomy, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre.

Associate Professor Dr Norzana Abd Ghafar underwent her undergraduate medical training (BMedSc) at the University of St Andrews, United Kingdom and pursued her medical degree at the University of Glasgow, United Kingdom (MBChB). She obtained her postgraduate degree in Anatomy (MMedSci) in 1999 and doctorate (PhD) in 2010. Associate Professor Dr Norzana Abd Ghafar is actively involved in teaching undergraduate and postgraduate clinical courses including surgery, orthopaedic and otorhinolaryngology. She has been invited as an external examiner and curriculum evaluator to various medical or dental institutions either locally or internationally.

Associate Professor Dr Norzana Abd Ghafar is the pioneer of corneal cell culture in Malaysia, which has stemmed from her PhD research project of tissue engineering of the cornea. Currently, her research area includes the in vitro corneal wound healing model using natural products as adjunct treatment for corneal ulceration. Her future research interest focuses on the mechanism of corneal wound healing and the development of natural product-based eye drop in the treatment of ophthalmological disorders. As an anatomist, she has published research articles on morphology and anatomical variations. She has published more than 40 research articles in the peer-reviewed journals.




Prof. Dato’ Dr. Mohd Zaki Salleh

Director
Integrative Pharmacogenomics Institute (iPROMISE)

Prof. Dato’ Dr. Mohd Zaki Salleh started his academic career at the School of Medical Sciences Universiti Sains Malaysia in 1995 after obtaining PhD from Universiti Sains Malaysia under the supervision of Prof. Datuk Dr. Asma Ismail and Prof. Dr. Zainul F Zainuddin. He was one of the founding members of the Institute for Research in Molecular Medicine (INFORMM) USM, a Malaysian Higher Institution Centre of Excellence (HICoE). He then joined UKM Medical Molecular Biology Institute (UMBI), another HICoE in 2004. In 2005, he joined Malaysian BioDiagnostics Research Sdn Bhd as the Technical and Business Development Director. In 2007 he joined the Faculty of Pharmacy, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM). He and Prof Dr Teh Lay Kek formed the Pharmacogenomics Centre (PROMISE) in 2008. In 2013, the centre was upgraded to an institute and was named as Integrative Pharmacogenomics Institute (iPROMISE) and he was appointed as the founding director of the institute.

One of his notable contributions in science is the completion of the Malay Whole Genome Sequences in Malaysia. He then spear-head a group of Malaysian researchers to complete the whole genome sequence database of some of the sub-tribes of the Orang Asli in Malaysia. The database comprises of sub-tribes of Orang Asli whose populations are less than 500 people, in an effort to look for signatures of natural selection due to the high consanguinity. Probably this is the biggest whole genome Orang Asli database to date. He is also involved in researches targeting on precision medicine using several platforms which include pharmacogenomics, genomics, proteomics, metabolomics and epigenetics.

His team had managed to develop and innovate a few simple PCR based genotyping kits to identify patients of different genetic backgrounds for CYPs, MDR1 and VKORC1 to help make therapy more personalized for patients. Some of these kits have been made available to hospitals. In metabolomics, they look for potential biomarkers for patients with cancers and responses to drugs using LCMS-QTOF. They hope to generate high quality research knowledge and information on genome sequences and useful metabolomics and proteomics markers for better management of patients. They provide services and consultations in whole genome sequencing and metabolomics related studies to the local scientists. iPROMISE had established some collaborations in research which include the local universities, Malaysian Ministry of Health, Malaysian Bureau of Pharmacy, Agilent Technologies and CSIR-IGIB, India. Together with a few other researchers, the Malaysian Metabolomics Society (MyMs) was established in 2011 and Zaki was appointed as the founding president.

 

Professor Dr Liza Sharmini Ahmad Tajudin
Ophthalmogist
Universiti Sains Malaysia.

Professor Dr Liza Sharmini Ahmad Tajudin is an ophthalmogist and lecturer in Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia. Her main research area is clinical and molecular research on glaucoma. Currently, she is heading the Malays Glaucoma Eye Study (MaGES). MaGES is already reaching the third phase of the research work. She is now spearheading the first phase of Chinese Glaucoma Eye Study (ChiGES). She has nearly 16 years-experience in conducting clinical and molecular research and has completed 16 national and university research grants. She has published nearly 100 manuscripts with more than 300 citations. She is also the senior consultant ophthalmologist and head of service for glaucoma in Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia. Currently, she is the head of department, Department of Ophthalmology, Universiti Sains Malaysia. She is also a life member of Malaysian Society of Ophthalmology and Malaysia Society of Human Genetics (MSHG), member of Asia Pacific Glaucoma Society and member of College of Ophthalmologists, Academy of Medicine Malaysia. She is also member of Asia Eye Genetic Consortium and Asia Pacific Eye Genetic Society.

 

 

Dr Sang-Bing Ong
PhD CSci Cbiol EuProBiol
University College London, UK

Dr Sang-Bing Ong PhD CSci CBiol EurProBiol received his PhD in Medicine in 2010 from University College London (UCL), UK whilst working with Derek Hausenloy and Derek Yellon at the Hatter Cardiovascular Institute as a BBSRC-Dorothy Hodgkin Scholar. Prior to that, he was also a Westminster Vice-Chancellor’s Scholar (University of Westminster, UK) as well as a Monbukagakusho Scholar (Hokkaido University, Japan) for his MSc studies. Dr Ong continued pursuing postdoctoral research at the University of California San Diego (UCSD), USA and subsequently Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore under a Khoo Postdoctoral Fellowship Award from the Estate of Tan Sri Khoo Teck Puat in Singapore. He has previously served as a Senior Lecturer at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and is currently a Singapore Ministry of Health National Medical Research Council (NMRC)-funded Assistant Professor in Cardiovascular Medicine at Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore. His research interest lies in modulating cardiac mitochondrial dynamics to combat cardiovascular disorders.

 

 

Professor Dr Musalmah Mazlan
Faculty of Medicine
Universiti Teknologi MARA, Sungai Buloh
Selangor

Professor Dr. Musalmah Mazlan is a professor of biochemistry, in Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia. She received her PhD in Chemical Pathology from University of London, UK. Her areas of research include clinical biochemistry, antioxidants and neurodegeneration. She is also an editor and a reviewer for various scientific journals, namely Journal of Clinical and Health Science, Asian Journal of Biochemistry, Asian Journal of Cell Biology, Asian Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances and International Journal of Agricultural Research, to name a few. She was an auditor for the Malaysian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2007-2009) and Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA); and is an assessor for research grant applications, funded by the Minitsry of Higher Education and other institutes. To date, Professor Musalmah has published 73 papers in international journals, and presented a total of 116 papers at conferences. Her current h-index status stands at 17, with a total of 889 citations.

 

 

Professor Dr Suzana Makpol
Head Department of Biochemistry
Faculty of Medicine UKM, UKM Medical Center
Cheras, Kuala Lumpur

Professor Dr. Suzana Makpol is a Professor of Biochemistry at Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She currently serves as Head of Biochemistry Department, Faculty of Medicine, UKM. She graduated from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia with Bachelor of Science Hons (Clinical Biochemistry) in 1992 and obtained her PhD (Medical Biochemistry) from the same university in 1997. She then went to Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Hokkaido University, Hokkaido, Japan in year 2000 for research training and did an attachment at Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University, Oregon, USA in 2008. Professor Makpol has been investigating the molecular changes that occur with ageing and elucidating the molecular mechanisms of natural compounds such as palm tocotrienols, microalgae Chlorella vulgaris, gelam honey and Piper betle in delaying ageing with emphasis on intracellular signaling pathways and its regulation by genes, transcription factors and micro RNAs. In her studies, she has been using stress-induced premature senescence (SIPS) model of human diploid fibroblasts besides replicative senescence model of human diploid fibroblasts and myoblasts which represent cellular ageing. She has published more than 100 papers in peer-reviewed international journals and presented more than 150 seminar papers in local and international conferences. She has held several research grants and is currently involved in a few research projects and in the supervision of undergraduate medical students and postgraduate students in biochemistry.

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