The Health October 2020 - Page 24


The Health | October , 2020

| People |

Her love for children wins doctor Asean-US Science Prize for Women 2020

Dr Chan Yoke Fun , the Head

of the Department of Medical Microbiology at Universiti Malaya ’ s Faculty of Medicine , made Malaysia proud when she bagged the Asean-US Science
Prize for Women 2020 recently . Dr Chan focused her research on developing a vaccine to combat a virus that causes hand , foot and mouth disease ( HFMD ), and brain infection diseases in children . Her research proved that a “ multivalent vaccine ”, which is a vaccine which can combat more than one specific virus , could be made to fight HFMD and brain diseases among children .
Furthermore , she has worked with local experts to raise awareness about the dangers and prevention of the virus in her community and beyond .
It was reported that her compassionate nature and love for children spurred her into developing the vaccine .
“ This award is timely in demonstrating the active role of women in preventive healthcare . It is a recognition for work well done and signifies the opportunity for my team to do more . It has also empowered all Asean women scientists .
Passion , perseverance and positive thinking help us to achieve greater heights .”
“ Passion , perseverance and positive thinking help us to achieve greater heights ,” said Dr Chan , who also received a US $ 20,000 ( RM82,957 ) cash award .
Meanwhile , honourable mention goes to Assistant Professor at Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies at the National University of Singapore ( NUS ), Dr Shefaly Shorey , who received a US $ 5,000 ( RM20,738 ) cash award .
Selected from a pool of 10 finalists
The panel consisted of the Asean Committee on Science , Technology , and Innovation ( Costi ) members , representatives from the Asean Secretariat , the US Agency for International Development ( USAID ) and Underwriters Laboratories .
The two finalists had been selected from a pool of 10 national finalists , who each represented the brightest women scientists working in the field of Preventive
Healthcare , this year ’ s prize theme .
Both Dr Chan and Dr Shorey presented their research to a panel of judges through a head-to-head pitch competition held in a virtual judging session on Aug 13 .
Dr Shorey focused her research on preventing depression in pregnancy and motherhood and from her research findings , she developed a free educational app called “ Home but Not Alone ” to support new parents to manage stress and deter post-natal depression .
“ I am thankful for the opportunity to represent my country and profession and share my research on promoting women ’ s health at this International Platform .
“ Thank you very much to the Asean-US Prize Committee and the organisers for their wonderful support for making this year ’ s competition possible despite the ongoing pandemic ,” said Dr Shorey . — The Health

Local doctor clinches rare honour at University of Oxford

Malaysian Dr Masliza Mahmod , 48 , was recently made Associate Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Oxford .
The head of Clinical Trials Group at the Oxford Centre for Clinical Magnetic Resonance Research , Division of Cardiovascular Medicine , received the award in recognition of independent research achievement , along with contributions to the general academic life of the Medical Sciences Division and the department .
“ This is for Malaysia . Being here at Oxford , I am in a better position to help Malaysia in Cardiovascular Medicine by opening up training opportunities for Malaysians and for research collaborations .
“ I am grateful to Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia , which has allowed me to pursue my career in Oxford following my PhD . It has always been my intention to give back to the country ,” said Masliza , who hails from Batu Pahat , Johor .
The scientist and her team at Oxford University are working with Institut Jantung Negara ( IJN ) to obtain a research grant for Covid-19 research in Malaysia .
Yang di-Pertuan Agong , Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri ’ ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah has congratulated Dr Masliza Mahmod on her appointment .
Istana Negara in a post on Instagram said : “ Al-Sultan Abdullah is also pleased because Dr Masliza has made the nation proud and also wished her all the best and prayed for her continued success in the field of cardiology and to succeed to be among the world ’ s renowned cardiologists .
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah , in his congratulatory message , said : “ There is no stopping her now to achieve greater heights ....”
Dr Masliza obtained her DPhil ( PhD ) in Cardiovascular Medicine from the University of Oxford , Master ’ s of Medicine from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia , Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physicians from the UK and primary medical degree from the University of Otago , New Zealand .