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Date [ 2014-09-18, 07:40 ]

Young  UM student scientists work along cutting edge acdaemic icons and Nobel Laurestes.

Robson Ee received The Best Oral Paper Award

(Kuala Lumpur=Koreanpress) Liew Lai Keen = Like a proud parent, High Impact Research of University Malaya (UM) is justifiably proud of the achievements of its researchers, especially the young student scientists involved with world renowned men of science. Three examples of this new breed of scientific achievers are, Chong Teik Min, Robson Ee and Lim Yan Lue, all working on HIR funded projects under the supervision of Dr. Chan Kok Gan fromthe Institute of Biological Sciences (ISB), Faculty of Science, University Malaya.

 At the National Postgraduate Fundamental and Applied Sciences Seminar (NPFASS, 14-15 June 2014) held in Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), Kampar, Perak,these three UM post-graduate students received three of the four prizes awarded during the seminar. Chong Teik Min received the Best Poster Award for his work on heavy metal resistance of Pseudomonas Mendocina that was isolated from vineyard soil in France.

Chong used the latest NGS platform of Single Molecule Real-Time (SMRT) available in Central HIR in search of the copper resistance genes via whole genome sequencing which has been proven invaluable to solve bacteria genome and uncover its genomic make-up.

In his work, he also presented the possibility of these genes to be applied for bioremediation of heavy metal contamination sites. This work is the result of the long-term collaboration between Dr. Chan Kok Gan and Professor Yves Dessaux, Research Director of Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in France, with the support of Malaysia’s HIR Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) and the French Embassy in Malaysia.

The Best Oral Paper Award winner, Robson Ee presented his work on the topic “Mystery in Pandoraea cystic fibrosis infection solved?” using quorum sensing (QS) as the possible new lead in unravelling Pandoraea infection in cystic fibrosis patients with his previous discovery of QS activity from a soil isolated Pandoraea sp. RB-44.

Both QS synthase and transcriptional regulator were identified from the complete genome of Pandoraea sp. RB-44 sequenced usingSingleMolecule Real-Time (SMRT) Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). With his continuous efforts to prove this theory, Robson also presented that cystic fibrosis clinical isolates of Pandoraea species also exhibited QS activity. Robson’s work on Pandoraea spp. has attracted the attention of Dr Louise Roddam from the School of Medicine, University of Tasmania (Australia), who is currently collaborating with Dr Chan by using the SMRT to solve the research question that both teams have a common interest in: the QS in Pandoraea spp.

Another Best Oral Paper Award winner was Lim Yan Lue for her presentation on “The Language of Serratia fonticola – A Multilingual Bacteria”. In her oral paper, Yan Lue presented on her discovery of a unique strain of Serratia fonticola which represents the first discovery on such a strain displaying QS properties.

Using a series of biosensors and cutting edge analytical chemistry instruments, namely high resolution quadrupole mass spectrometry available in Central HIR, she provided unequivocal identification of three different types of QS autoinducer (N-acyl-homoserine lactone molecules), a phenotype that was first reported in this particular species. Using SMRT, she managed to unveil the role of QS in this strain via whole genome sequencing. Lim also presented her work on the first complete assembled genome of a single chromosome which effortlessly permitted the identification of the Acyl-homoserine-lactone (AHL).

These produce a number of bacterial species that regulate the expression ofvirulence genes via QSand proteins known as receptor homologues in the genome of this QS strain. This work has attracted Nobel Laureate, Sir Robert Richard from the NEB Lab (Boston, USA), to join Dr. Chan’s team on bacterial genome work.

The work of these students has brought added recognition and fame to University Malaya. It has also lifted the university among the top 400 universities of the world in the  Quacquarelli Symonds,  World University Rankings. It broke the Top 200 barrier, climbing 16 places to rest at position 151 for this year.

Doing Malaysia Chong Teik Min received The Best Poster Award

Lim Yan Lue received The Best Oral Paper Award

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