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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Outstanding woman i've started to admire


Researcher Name: Professor Asma Ismail (PhD)
Area of expertise: Medical Microbiology, Medical biotechnology,Rapid diagnostics of infectious diseases
Institution: Universiti Sains Malaysia, Minden, Penang, Malaysia
Contact number: Tel: +604 653 3108 Fax: +604 656 6466 HP: 019 9814214

Asma Ismail is currently the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovations) and a Professor at the Institute for Research in Molecular Medicine (INFORMM), USM. She graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno, USA with distinction in biology, received her MA in Microbiology from Indiana University, Bloomington, USA. and obtained her PhD in the field of Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of Nevada, Reno, USA in 1986.

Asma is passionate about the idea of developing indigenous health technologies and innovations that can generate wealth for the country and improve the quality of life of society at large. Development of rapid and affordable diagnostics for infectious diseases provides an opportunity to ensure availability and accessibility to quality health especially for the people from the underdeveloped countries. To drive the passion, she specializes in the area of proteomics and its application in the rapid diagnosis of infectious diseases, especially typhoid fever. Her studies on specific biomarkers led to the discovery of an antigenically specific 50kDa of Salmonella typhi.

Prof Asma is one of the scientists credited with the translation of the scientific discovery into 4 rapid diagnostic kits for typhoid that have been successfully commercialized globally to more than 18 countries since 1994. She has filed for 27 patents world wide of which 7 has been granted. Commercialization of TYPHIDOT, a rapid diagnostic test to diagnose for acute typhoid, has generated sales, publications, and more than 500 jobs world wide and supported the local industries in Malaysia She has helped to create a start up biotech company pioneering in Bio-diagnostics for the country and currently served on its board of directors.
Asma started her career as a lecturer in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia in 1986. She was a visiting scientist at University of Tokyo in 1989 and a visiting fellow at the Medical College, St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London in 1992. She was promoted to Associate Professor in 1993 and served as Deputy Dean of Administration in 1994. She was promoted to Professor in 2000 and became Deputy Dean of Research in the same year.

In 2001, she became the Director for the Centre for Medical Innovations and Technology Development, USM. In 2003, she became the Founding Director, Institute for Research in Molecular Medicine (INFORMM), the first multi-disciplinary cluster based research institute for USM. In May, 2008 she was promoted to Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and innovation) at USM.

Prof Asma is actively involved in research attaining more than RM 9 million (USD 2.6 million) in terms of grants within the last 5 years, presented 161 papers with more than 100 invitations as a speaker at national and international levels to share her scientific findings and experience in the commercialization of R&D products. Prof. Asma’s R&D achievements and impact of her research at national and international levels have gained more than 45 scientific publications, filed 8 gene sequences and received more than 57 awards and recognitions at national and international levels. She served as the WHO temporary Advisor for vaccine and diarrhoeal diseases since 2002. She received numerous prestigious awards of the country including the National Young Scientist Award in 1991, Malaysian Toray Science and Technology Award for outstanding contribution in science in 2002, National Inventor Award in 2003, National Innovation Award, 2006 and the National Academic Award for Product and Commercialization in 2007. She was made a Fellow of the Academy of Sciences Malaysia in 2003 and served as its council member since 2007. In 2010, she was made Fellow Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (in Medicine), joining the ranks of 1000 most distinguished scientists in the Developing World.

At the National level, she chairs the Cluster Development Committee for the Nobel Laureate grants in Physiology or Medicine under the Academy of Sciences Malaysia and the Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (medicine) for the Ministry of Higher Education. She is a committee member for the Establishment of Research Universities in Malaysia and is also a member of the Assessment Committee for Research Universities by the Ministry of Higher Education that led to the landmark establishment of Research universities in Malaysia. She also serves as the chair for the development and direction of R&D towards implementation of the national Strategic Planning for Higher Education. She also helped determine the direction in Biotechnology by being a member of the Cluster Working group on Healthcare biotechnology, Member of the Penang Biotech, Pharma and Neutraceutical Advisory panel for Invest Penang and member for the National Strategic Planning and Advisory for Biotechnology, Ministry of Higher Education.

With technology foresight, the ability to acquire and manipulate technology and imbibing the spirit of global competitiveness, Asma is confidant that given the opportunity, local scientists will ensure Malaysia as a player in the Knowledge-based economy and prove that Malaysian R&D can bring in respect and profits and not an economic drain.