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UTAR signs MoU with SERC to boost research

Image 1: Fourth from left, Prof Chuah shaking hands with Dato' Lim at the exchange of the MoU document together with key representatives from UTAR and SERC

To further enhance its network of research partners, UTAR signed a MoU with the Socio-Economic Research Centre Sdn Bhd (SERC). The signing ceremony of the UTAR-SERC MoU was held on 20 Jan 2014 at Wisma Chinese Chambers in Kuala Lumpur.

The signatories were UTAR President Ir Prof Academician Dato' Dr Chuah Hean Teik and SERC Chairman Dato' Lim Kok Cheong who is also the President of Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM). Witnessing the signing were UTAR Vice-President for Internationalisation and Academic Development Prof Dr Ewe Hong Tat and Deputy President of ACCIM and Director of SERC Dato' Ter Leong Yap.

The signing of the MoU with SERC will pave the way for further joint research on high quality problem-oriented research on social, economic, financial and business issues facing the business community at large, joint application for research grants and the enhancement of research outputs arising from joint research work & research publications. Equally beneficial to UTAR students and staff will be the exposure, the wider networking and the sharing of knowledge through the joint organisation of training, talks, seminars and conference sessions.

Showcasing BCI wheelchair prototype to MOSTI delegates

Image 2: The demonstration of the BCI wheelchair begins

A team of 8 senior officials from the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MOSTI) was warmly received by UTAR President Ir Prof Academician Dato' Dr Chuah Hean Teik and senior staff on 17 February at the Faculty of Engineering and Science (FES), KL Campus.

Led by MOSTI Under Secretary (Biotechnology) Prof Dato' Dr Mohd Jamil Bin Maah, the visit was to view the progress of the UTAR's Brain Computer-Interface(BCI) wheelchair project which was awarded RM2.79 million under the MOSTI Flagship Project of the respective ministry in 2012.

The project, headed by UTAR Department of Mechanical and Material Engineering lecturer Prof Ir Dato' Goh Sing Yau is provide better mobility to a movement-impaired person or motor neuron disease (MND) patients. A team of lecturers and students did a successful "live" demo of the clinically pre-commercialised prototype of the Brain Computer-Interface (BCI) wheelchair.

The team is now working on the miniaturization and fabrication of 20 units of the precommercialised prototype in the next stage. Project Monitoring Team leader for UTAR Flagship Project Prof Datuk Ir Dr Ow Chee Sheng added that the research project is on schedule and expected to yield results soon.

UTAR and Nestlé seal pact

Image 3: Prof Ewe (right) shaking hands with Hofbauer(left) at the exchange of the MoU document while Dr Yap and Hutch Singh looks on

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was inked between UTAR and Nestlé Manufacturing (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (Nestlé) at the Nestlé Paddy Club Farmers' Day at Matang Mahang, Kerpan, Kedah on 20 February 2014.

Signing on behalf of the parties were UTAR Vice President (Internationalisation & Academic Development) Prof Dr Ewe Hong Tat who was then Acting President and Region Head of Nestlé Malaysia and Singapore, Alois Hofbauer. Witnessing the signing were UTAR Faculty of Engineering and Green Technology Dean Dr Yap Vooi Voon and Nestlé Malaysia Group Engineering Manager Hutch Singh.

The UTAR-Nestlé initiatives include relevant engineering and green technology research projects at the Nestlé Experimental and Demonstration ('E&D') farm at Sik, Kedah and practical training for UTAR undergraduates and post-graduates on green technology and engineering in the paddy agricultural industry.

Impressive win in IEM CED Competition 2013/14

Image 4: From left: Fan, Ooi, Chan and Ir Dr Low posing after the prize giving ceremony

A team of three UTAR students from the Faculty of Engineering and Green Technology (FEGT) impressed the judges with their holistic approach of theory and practice to win the top 3rd prize at the Institution of Engineering Malaysia (IEM) Chemical Engineering Design (CED) Competition 2013/2014-Design of a Palm-based Biomass Plant - Production and Utilisation at its finals held at Armada Hotel in Petaling Jaya on 26 April 2014.

The UTAR team comprising final-year petrochemical engineering students Chan Jiun Haur, Fan Kar Hoe and Ooi San Nee won cash prizes worth RM750 and certificates of appreciation. "The competition was extraordinary as it inspired us to visualise the design as well as grasping the concepts of sustainability, environmental and safety in a holistic manner. We need to apply theoretical knowledge with understanding of the synergies in real life plant design situations as well as the global trend of bio-plastic market to successfully achieve the key objective of the competition," said Chan, the leader of the winning team.

The IEM CED Competition 2013/2014 - Design of a Palm-based Biomass Plant - Production and Utilisation was initiated by Chemical Engineering Technical Division (CETD) of the IEM with the objective of enhancing the practicality and methodology of design competency.


Image 5: FICT Senior Lecturer Liew Shiuh Deh explaining his research project to the delegates

Delegates from TM Research & Development (TM R&D), a wholly owned subsidiary of Telekom Malaysia Bhd, visited UTAR Perak Campus for the first time on 25 March 2014 for a research collaboration meeting. The delegates included Chief Executive Officer Dr Gopi Kurup, Computational Sciences General Manager Azrin Bin Aris, Communication Technologies General Manager Zakaria Bin Ahmad, Strategy and Business Management General Manager Maimunah Binti Reduan, Head of System Technologies Dr Sufian Mousa Ibrahim Mitani, Digital Services Theme Leader I Mohamad Suwandi Bin Sidik, Head of Advanced Physical Technologies Lab Dr Mitani, Head of Strategy Management Unit Mohamad Zainuddin Ahmad, Head of HCBD Khairul Haniza Binti Yeop Hashim, Custodian Management Officers Rizal Yusob and Mohd Syaiful Syukor and Green Theme Leader Ir Rizaludin Kapin.

UTAR Director of Institute of Postgraduate Studies and Research (IPSR) Prof Dr Faidz bin Abdul Rahman, Deans, Deputy Deans and academic staff from the Faculty of Information and Communication Technology (FICT) and Faculty of Engineering and Green Technology (FEGT) welcomed the delegates who travelled from Cyberjaya for the meeting.

Impressed by UTAR's remarkable achievement and commitment to R&D, Dr Gopi expressed the interest to collaborate with the faculties to look into green networks fields, other mutual areas of interests and even student internship and industrial training programme for UTAR students.

UTAR researchers awarded Co-PIs in international project

Image 6: The Co-PIs; (from left) Dr Lee, Dr Lai, Prof Chong and King posing in front of the lobby of FES, UTAR Kuala Lumpur Campus

UTAR Faculty of Engineering and Science (FES) has another cause to celebrate after four of its academics were appointed as Co-Principal Investigators (Co-PIs) for the 2014 Presidents‘ Forum of Southeast and South Asia and Taiwan Universities (SATU) Research Scheme which is hosted annually by National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) in Taiwan.

The awarded Co-PIs comprise FES Master and PhD programme head Prof Chong Kok Keong, FES Electrical and Electronic Engineering Department head Dr Lai An Chow, Dr Lee Jer Vui and King Yeong Jin. They share the Co-PIs Award with a team of researchers from Universiti Malaya in Malaysia. The two teams will collaborate on the project titled =Grid Connection and Hybrid Wind, PV and Ocean Energy Using Flexible AC Transmission System (FACTS)‘ which is spearheaded by Prof Wang Li, the Principal Investigator from the host unit, NCKU College of Engineering and Science.

The award will cover travel support for the Co-PIs whose institutions are outside of Taiwan. It includes a visit to NCKU between July and September 2014, a two-night stay at Zenda Suite which is approximately a five-minute walk from NCKU and a reimbursement of not more than NTD20,000 (about USD670) for a round-trip economy class airfare.

The aim of the project is to develop grid-connected, high-capacity hybrid wind, PV and ocean energy systems and available FACTS model by different partners of different universities. Both grid-connected, high-capacity hybrid system and FACTS are combined together while the associated damping controller of the proposed FACTS has to be designed using modern control theories to improve the stability of the connected power systems under various disturbance conditions.

SATU President‘s Forum was first held in 2003 to provide a venue for academics to share their experiences to improve the quality of higher education and international cooperation in the region. The SATU International Secretariat, established in NCKU in 2005, launched the SATU Joint Research Scheme to initiate the engagement and mutual cooperation of researches within SATU member universities through integration of academic resources and linkage of research interest among researchers in the region.

UTAR-led STEM projects a hit at KLESF 2014

Image 7: Young learners observing an experiment at the lab

To support the reach of science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) education to the community at large, UTAR has jointly collaborated with ASEAN Academy of Engineering and Technology (AAET), the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT), The Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM) and The National Science Centre (NSC) under the Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), to organise the inaugural Kuala Lumpur Engineering Science Fair (KLESF) 2014 which brings together more schools, educators, public and private sector to share information, experiences and good practices in STEM education.

The inaugural KLESF 2014 which aimed primarily to ignite the interests in STEM especially among school children was held from 25 - 27 April 2014 at the Pusat Sains Negara in Kuala Lumpur. With free admission to the public, the fair saw the wellreceived displays of the engineering science projects from the participating schools under the UTAR School Engineering and Science Design Mentorship Programme (SESDMP) and the Science Hands-on Demos & Experiments (SHDEs) led by UTAR Centre for Foundation Studies (CFS) PJ campus. The other activities at the Fair were the displays of the award-winning STEM projects of schools namely SMK UJ 13 ( Subang Jaya, Selangor), SMK USJ 4 (Subang Jaya, Selangor),SMK Sains Hulu Selangor (Batang Kali, Selangor) and Yuk Chai team Robowis (Petaling Jaya, Selangor),the STEM projects of industry exhibitors, mental literacy talks, posters and videos. Adding to the fun and enjoyment of KLESF 2014 were the science of magic, quizzes and even lucky draws.

The Minister of Education II YB Dato' Seri Idris Bin Jusoh officiated KLESF 2014 at the Atrium of PSN on 26 April 2014 with a launch gambit of releasing a giant-sized 'KLESF2014' balloon banner followed by the Robot Nao's dance. The Minister of Education II was accompanied at the officiating by Prime Minister's Science Adviser, the KLESF Steering Committee comprising Chairman Datuk Ir Hong Lee Pee, the Joint Chairman Dr Mohd Yusoff Sulaiman, the past president of IEM Ir Choo Kok Beng, the Director of PSN and UTAR representatives; UTAR President Prof Academician Dato' Dr Chuah Hean Teik and Vice President for R&D and Commercialisation Prof Lee Sze Wei.

KLESF 2014 attracted the support of sponsors including UEM Group Bhd, Muhibbah Engineering Sdn Bhd, Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ACCCIM), Digital Malaysia,Telekom Malaysia Berhad, Indocafe, Cytron Technologies Sdn Bhd,MBO Cinemas, Phisontech Electronics (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, Corpacer Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Polis Diraja and Pizza Hut Resturants Sdn Bhd.

The corporations which set up booths at KLESF 2014 were Cytron Technologies Sdn Bhd, Dassault Aviation, Dreamcatcher/Freescale/Toshiba,Dreamedge Sdn Bhd, EDU360,Funcel Sdn Bhd, Iwitness Sdn Bhd, Makersone Sdn Bhd, Malaysia Invention and Design Society, Multimedia Development Corporation (Mdec), National Instruments, Polis DiRaja Malaysia (PDRM), Silverlake group, Spirit Aerosystems (M) Sdn Bhd,Stevianas Corporation Sdn Bhd, The Institution of Engineers Malaysia, Young Engineers Section, The Malaysia Mensa Society, Universiti Kebangsan Malaysia (UKM), Univerisiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) and Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM).

Double awards at ITEX 2014

Image 8: From left: Chuah, Yong, Dr Lim, Wong and Khim Yan with their invention

It was double recognition for UTAR when its two research teams clinched a silver award each in the 25th International Invention, Innovation & Technology Exhibition (ITEX) that was held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre from 8 to 10 May 2014.

The first winning team comprising Ir Dr Lim Yun Seng, Senior Lecturer Chuah Kein Huat and students Wong Jianhui, Yong Wui Kian and Lim Khim Yan won a silver award in environmental and renewable energy category with their invention =Active Management System for Electrical Distribution Network with Renewable Energy‘. Their invention is a proposed solution to ensure effective operation of the distribution networks with the PV system. The 3-phased fuzzy control algorithm for the distributed energy storage system can control individual phase voltage and mitigate the voltage quality effectively without cutting any of the excess renewable energy.

The second team also won a silver award in the same environmental and renewable energy category with their invention =Dense-array Concentrator Photovoltaic System Utilising Non-imaging Dish Concentrator and Array of Crossed Compound Parabolic Concentrators‘. The members in the second winning team were Prof Dr Chong Kok Keong, Lecturer Wong Chee Woon and students Yew Tiong Keat, Tan Ming Hui and Tan Woei Chong. Their winning invention is related to the field of solar power generation system from state of the art technology - a dense–array concentrator photovoltaic system utilizing non imaging dish concentrator and cross compound parabolic concentrator to improve overall energy conversion efficiency to improve by more than 30%.

Recipient of the Asian Graduate Student Fellowships 2014

Image 9: From left to right: Tan with the Managing Director of NUS Press Dr Paul H. Kratoska and other participants in a group photo

Faculty of Arts and Social Science (FAS) Language and Linguistic Department Lecturer Tan Swee Mee did UTAR proud when she was awarded the Asian Graduate Student Fellowships 2014.

Tan was among 25 graduate students from other Asian countries who were entitled to the one-and-a half month fellowship based in Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore (NUS) commencing 16 May until 31 August this year. It aims to enable scholars to make full use of the wide range of resources held in the libraries of NUS and also the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

By securing a seat in the Fellowship programme, Tan who is currently working on her PhD project entitled "Thematic Choice in Selected Short Stories from Malaysian Women Writers: Woman Identity from a Systemic Functional Perspective" has the opportunity to have one to one coaching in crafting her thesis and academic presentation, as well as consultations from an assigned mentor

R&D Colloquium 2014

Image 10: Group photo of the participants at R&D Colloquium 2014 (1.0)

In line with the Strengthening of Cross Disciplinary Research Centres under the UTAR 10-year Strategic Plan, the Institute of Postgraduate Studies and Research (IPSR) organised UTAR's maiden R&D Colloquium 2014 which was held at the Perak Campus on 31 May 2014.

Touted as a key initiative in providing continuous updates of research outcomes to the research centres, faculties, IPSR and Vice President's office for Research, Development and Commercialisation (VP RDC), the R&D Colloquium 2014 will also foster regular networking among the twenty-seven UTAR research centres, establishing cross research co-operation and enhancing bidding for local and international research fundings.

The R&D Colloquium was truly a meeting of minds and marked the inaugural gathering as an invaluable platform for the research participants to interact, present and share their research work. It brought together more than 120 participants comprising both local and foreign researchers from the UTAR research centres, lecturers, staff and postgraduate students.

Following the success of the first R&D Colloquium in May 2014, the Institute of Postgraduate Studies and Research (IPSR) organised its second R&D Colloquium at the KL campus on 18 October 2014.

More than 126 participants comprising researchers, presenters, postgraduate students and staff attended the R&D Colloquium 2014 (2.0) which proved to be impactful with informative presentations on relevant topics and lively discussions at the Q &A sessions. The topics included learning of the English language, application of technology in learning & mobile shopping, and development of electric vehicle.

Image 10.1: Prof Lee giving his closing address at R&D Colloquium 2014 (2.0)

Grand Prize in Innovate Malaysia Design Competition 2014

Image 11: Hau and Chok (first left and right) receiving the mock cheque and prizes from Rajesh (2nd from right)

Three UTAR Faculty of Engineering and Science final year students won the Grand Prize (National Instruments Track Category) in the grand finale of the Innovate Malaysia Design Competition (IMDC) 2014, held in Penang on 28 August 2014. The winning trio, comprising Alvey Hau Lee Chuen, Nicoline Saw Ying Jie, and Chok Eu-Tjin were over the moon as the grand win came successively after their third prize win at the same competition in July last year. They received a cash prize of RM5000 as well as a Lego Mindstorms kit each from National Instruments Penang Managing Director Rajesh Purushothaman.

IMDC 2014 was jointly organised by Altera, Intel, Keysight, MathWorks, Microsoft, National Instruments, and Silterra, which are leaders in electronic instrument, programmable logic, microprocessor, numerical computing, software, control automation, and IC fabrication respectively. The competition saw participants from a total of 29 universities within Malaysia, and their entries were developed and designed systems applications based on designated platforms.

Visiting academics research on Hakka community

Image 12: Dr Wong addressing the representatives at the Perak Ka Yin Association

Institute of Chinese Studies (ICS) Deputy Dean (R&D and Postgraduate Programmes) Assoc Prof Dr Wong Wun Bin led a delegation comprising two visiting academics and two research assistants to Ipoh from 28 to 29 August 2014 to conduct research on the Hakka community.

The visiting academics were Assoc Prof Dr Pan Mei Lin from the Department of Humanities and Social Science of National Chiao Tung University (NCTU), Taiwan and Dr Zhong DaRong from Huaqiao University Institute of Overseas Chinese.

The two-day field trip saw the delegates visiting the Perak Ka Yin Association on the first day where they were cordially received by representatives of the Hakka association and introduced to the history of the decade-old association and were shown several historical items.

Publications in world renowned medical journal

Image 13: Dr Chandrashekhar

Associate Professor Dr Chandrashekhar Thummalahally Sreeramareddy from UTAR Department of Population Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences was one of the co-authors of two research articles which were published in one of the world‘s leading general medical journal, The Lancet.

The first article with the title ?Global, Regional and National Levels and Causes of Maternal Mortality during 1990-2013? was published in The Lancet on 2 May 2014, while the second article on the ?Global, Regional and National Incidence and Mortality for HIV, Tuberculosis, and Malaria during 1980–2013? was published on 22 July 2014.

Both articles were published as a result of the Systematic Analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013, carried out by a network of collaborators from around the world including Dr Chandrashekhar. The main co-ordinating body was the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, USA funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Lancet is currently ranked second among 150 journals in the General and Internal Medicine subject category (2013 Journal Citation Reports®, Thomson Reuters, 2014).

Students awarded Best Poster Awards

Image 14: Koay (left) and Phan (right) with their winning posters and certificates

Postgraduate students Koay Teng Wei and Phan Yun Xin made UTAR proud when they clinched the first and second place respectively for the Best Poster Awards in the 21st Malaysian Society for Molecular Biology & Biotechnology (MSMBB) Annual Scientific Meeting held at Monash University Malaysia from 1 to 3 October 2014.

Themed "Biotechnology for Global Sustainability and Prosperity", the annual event saw Koay and Phan, both Master of Science students, presenting impressive and informative posters under the "Genetics and =Omics"? category.

UTAR's Own Prototype Electric Vehicle

Image 15: School students trying out the spectrometry experiment

The UTAR Centre for Vehicular Technology (CVT) has been actively researching on technology for electric vehicles (EV). EVs are powered by battery energy instead of the conventional internal combustion engines (ICE) which run on fossil fuel. The batteries used are rechargeable. CVT Chairperson Dr Chew Kuew Wai and his team of postgraduate and undergraduate students have recently converted an ICE vehicle successfully into a fully electric one which runs on a 144V DC motor.

The UTAR EV research team is supervised by Dr Chew who is also an Associate Professor in the UTAR Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering of the Faculty of Engineering and Science. Team members are current postgraduate students, Daniel Yong Yew Rong and Ng Yong Han, while undergraduate students are Ng Teik Khoon, Hemalatha a/p Ganesan, Ng Mun Keong, Tan Chee Wei, Tan Chee Kang, Lok Kok Wei, and Tan Ee Jen.

This project started about two years ago and although some of the original team members have graduated and left the university, the project was continued by Dr Chew with new members. The team had a limited budget and they had to be very resourceful to work within the budget. This meant that decisions made had to be thoroughly thought through before purchasing any items to prevent wastage.

Each member of the team worked on different parts of the vehicle, coming together regularly on decision making for the electric vehicle. The students in the team had to work on the initial design, concept, controls, power input and identify the different components for assignment of tasks.

The team was researching on the methods of utilising the high energy efficiency of the electric motor (about 60%) compared to the conventional engine which has an efficiency of only about 20%. Running on twelve 12-volt rechargeable batteries, the UTAR team‘s EV was converted from a normal sedan running on an ICE system. Akin to other EVs, this EV is environmentally friendly and does not produce tailpipe emissions. Therefore, the exhaust pipe and petrol tank have been removed from the vehicle.

This UTAR prototype electric vehicle serves as a research platform for future research studies and improvements. The simulation results are not convincing without the evidence of real field test results and hence this electric vehicle is an important research tool. It provides an opportunity for students to explore and utilize their ingenuity for innovation and creativity in the field of technology. This vehicle also provides an excellent tool for hands-on learning.

Best Paper Award in IET ICFCNA 2014

Image 16: Sia (right) receiving the award on behalf of his team

A team of researchers from UTAR Faculty of Information and Communication Technology (FICT) won the Best Paper Award in the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) International Conference on Frontiers of Communications, Networks and Applications (ICFCNA) held at Sunway Resort Hotel in Kuala Lumpur from 3 to 5 November 2014.

The team comprised Master of Computer Science student Sia Yeong Kang, FICT Dean Dr Liew Soung Yue, Department of Computer and Communication Technology Head Dr Goh Hock Guan and Dr Gan Ming Lee. Their paper, titled =Spanning Multi-Free Algorithms for Load Balancing in Multi-sink Wireless Sensor Networks with Heterogeneous Traffic Generating Nodes‘, won the Best Paper Award in the Smart City Track category. Smart City aims to improve the quality of living in urban areas through smart sensors, devices and services deployed in a distributed manner to monitor and adapt to the environment in real time.

The paper was part of Sia‘s Master‘s studies and inspired by the rice field monitoring project that the team is currently working on. Organised by IET, the ICFCNA which was co-organised by UTAR aimed to gather academic, researchers and industry practitioners from around the world to meet and exchange ideas on recent developments, current research work, challenges and future directions of all aspects of communications, networks, as well as ICT systems and applications.

KLESF Mentor Development Programme

Image 17: United together for STEM education

More than 60 Science discipline teachers from 20 secondary schools around West Malaysia attended a =Mentor Development Programme‘ at UTAR Perak Campus from 6 to 7 November 2014.

Organised by UTAR, the Kuala Lumpur Engineering Science Fair (KLESF) Secretariat, the Mentor Development Programme is a sub-programme of the KLESF which has five partners i.e. the ASEAN Academy of Engineering and Technology, Malaysian IndustryGovernment Group for High Technology, UTAR, the Institution of Engineers Malaysia and the National Science Centre. This programme is aimed at encouraging and supporting teachers, educators, parents and public members to guide and mentor school students in hands-on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) projects. The programme was divided into three tracks according to specific fields, namely, Electronic/Physics/Applied Physics, Chemistry, and Biology, The programme was delivered by specially selected facilitators from relevant faculties of UTAR.

Among the projects that have been carried out throughout the two days programme were simple sensor projects on physics, introduction to Arduino - an open-source physical computing platform, introduction to chemistry inventions, discoveries and patents, experiences sharing session, extraction of natural dyes in biology, hands-on water and solvent extractions project, pH testing on unknown substances, demonstrations on DNA and starch extractions, introduction to various principles of biochemical test and so forth.

Among the participating schools were Chong Hwa Independent High School, Foon Yew High School, Hin Hua High School, SMJK Pei Yuan, Maktab Rendah Sains Mara Tun Ghazali Shafie, Shen Jai High School, SMK Methodist (ACS) Kampar, Westlake International School, SMK Taman Melati, and others.

Successful hosting of PERFIK-ICMSFM 2014

Image 18: Participants of PERFIK 2014 with Prof Faidz (seated fourth from right)

UTAR successfully hosted the National Physics Conference/Persidangan Fizik Kebangsaan (PERFIK 2014) and the International Conference on Mathematics, Statistics and Financial Mathematics (ICMSFM 2014) at the Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa, Petaling Jaya from 18-19 November 2014.

PERFIK-ICMSFM 2014, organised on a =2-in-1‘ basis proved to be a landmark event in enhancing the synergies of the related topics of mathematics and physics and promoting networking among the participants.

The Chairperson of the PERFIK 2014 Organising Committee and UTAR‘s Institute of Postgraduate Studies and Research (IPSR) Director Prof Faidz Abd Rahman said,"PERFIK 2014 has attracted renowned speakers from overseas such as Australia, Taiwan, US, Japan, and Italy to discuss issues on developments in physics. The turnout from the participants this year is good and more than 200 papers were submitted." Meanwhile, the Chairperson of the Organising Committee for ICMSFM 2014 and Head of Department of Mathematical and Actuarial Sciences, Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering and Science (LKC FES) Dr Goh Yong Kheng added that, "ICMSFM 2014 has progressed with higher quality papers which are presented for discussion in greater depth. 80% of the international participants at the conference are from Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong and the Philippines"

Adding to the technical knowledge of PERFIK 2014 were the various exhibitor‘s booths to display instruments such as optic table, oscilloscope products and testing & measuring instruments. The sponsors and exhibitors included Finisar Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Kumpulan ABEX Sdn Bhd, Alnair Photonics Sdn Bhd, OEMS IntiPakar Corporation Sdn Bhd and Genetron Technology Sdn Bhd.

The supporters for PERFIK 2014 were Institut Fizik Malaysia, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Asian Office of Aerospace Research and Development and International Technology Center Pacific (Army) and Kumpulan Ikhtisas Sains Malaysia (KISM).

Image 18.1: Participants of ICMSFM 2014 with Dr Goh (seated fifth from right)

ICMSFM 2014 was jointly organised by UTAR Centre for Mathematical Sciences in collaboration The Asian Regional Section of the International Association for Statistical Computing and Centre for Photonics research (IASC-ARS).

Recipients of the 2014 MTSF-STRG Grants

Three UTAR researchers received the Science and Technology Research Grants (STRG) from the Minister of Science, Technology & Innovation YB Datuk Dr Ewon Ebin at the 21st Prize Presentation Ceremony of Malaysia Toray Science Foundation (MTSF), held at the InterContinental Hotel, Kuala Lumpur on 2 December 2014.

A total of 36 scientists and researchers from various universities (including UTAR) received the awards and cash for their work in science, technology and innovation. The UTAR researchers who received the MTSF-STRG grants were Ong Sing Hui from Department of Biomedical Science, Faculty of Science (FSc), Wong Chee Yin, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS) and Tan Jiunn Luh from Department of Agriculture and Food Science, FSc.

Image 19: Ong with the poster on his award winning research

Ong received the grant of RM20,000 for his research work on =Elucidation of gene (asynuclein) – environment (agricultural pesticides) interaction involved in microglial neuroinflammation in Parkinson‘s disease (PD).‘ He expressed hope that the research study will help to develop more therapeutic measures for PD which is a common neurodegenerative disorder. His co-researcher is Associate Prof Dr Say Yee How.

Image 19.1: Wong receiving the award from YB Datuk Dr Ewon Ebin, while (from left) Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan His Excellency Dr Makio Miyagawa and Tan Sri Augustine Ong Soon Hock look on

Expressing that it was an honour to be recognised by MTSF, FMHS Wong said, ?I will utilize the given grant of RM15,000 towards creating more value for my fundamental research on stem cells that focus on translating my research results into new medical treatments to help those affected by renal diseases.? Wong received the grant amount for his research project on =Decoding the differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells to mesangial cells at transcriptomic level.‘ Wong‘s co-researcher is Prof Lim Yang Mooi and his research study is also with co-supervision from the Dean of FMHS Prof Emeritus Dr Cheong Soon Keng.

Image 19.2: Tan with his Award Certificate and the poster display

Tan also received RM15,000 in the MTSF grant amount for his research project on =A survey of the Practice and Problems faced by the Nightshade (Solanaceae) Growers in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia with emphasis of the effect of Pesticides in Thrips.‘ Elaborating on the purpose of his research study, Tan said, ?By proving the cause of thrips (the pest in my research) and also the reason for the thrips to be resistant to the insecticides, we will justify to find the biological control agent for the thrip.? He further added that he would make good use of the MTSF grant to complete his research and help the farmers of Cameron Highlands solve the agricultural pest problems and harvest better and healthier produce. Tan‘s co-researchers are Prof Dr Peter Ooi Aun Chuan and Associate Prof Dr Gideon Khoo.

Malaysia Toray Science Foundation (MTSF), a registered and privately funded charity organisation is established by Toray Industries Inc. Japan. Its mission is to contribute to advancement of science and technology in Malaysia.

Recipient of the TRSM Award 2014

Image 20: Prof Goi and the TRSM award

Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering and Science (LKCFES) Deputy Dean (Academic Development & Undergraduate Programmes) Prof Ir Dr Goi Bok Min was one of the 34 research scientists to receive the 2014 Top Research Scientists Malaysia (TRSM) award, given by the Academy of Science, Malaysia (ASM).

YAB Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak conferred the 2014 Top Research Scientists Malaysia (TRSM) award on these 34 research scientists at the JW Marriot Hotel, Kuala Lumpur on 8 December 2014.

The Top Research Scientists Malaysia (TRSM) Award is an ASM initiative which aims to foster a culture of excellence in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI). The initiative aims to recognise leading research scientists in Malaysia, to acknowledge their contributions and showcase the accomplishments of Malaysian research scientists as role models of excellence, mentors to the next generation and leaders of the STI agenda of the country.

Prof Goi is also the Chairperson for the Centre for Healthcare Science and Technology at UTAR. Related to the area of technology, one of Prof Goi‘s main research areas is Cryptology, which is the best solution to the strong need to guarantee the security of sensitive information processed and communicated electronically, in terms of confidentiality, authentication, integrity, availability and non-repudiation.

Since 2001, Prof. Goi has designed and proposed several secure and efficient cryptographic algorithms and security protocols, e.g., PCIHF (a new incremental cryptographic hash function), MaTRU (a new NTRU-based cryptosystem), CSS (an efficient certificateless Signature Scheme), PEKS (efficient encryption with keyword search) and (fuzzy) IBI & (hybrid) IBI (identity-based identification schemes), cancellable biometric security system, etc.

At the same time, he and his team have also cryptanalyzed and broken many so called "secure" cryptographic security schemes, especially the PAKE (password-based authenticated key exchange protocols), BSW (buyer-seller watermarking schemes), watermarking schemes and etc. Furthermore, with his strong background and knowledge on embedded systems design and telecommunication, Prof. Goi examines not only the security aspects of algorithm designs but also the secure & fast implementation of crypto algorithms in smartcards, GPU, FPGAs and (wireless) communication networking.

Best Poster Awards in IMGC 2014

Image 21: Norlaily (left) and Lily Boo (right) with their award-winning posters

Norlaily Mohd Ali and Boo Lily, both PhD candidates from FMHS, made the University proud by sweeping two out of three Best Poster Awards at the International Medical Genetics Conference (IMGC) which took place from 3 to 5 December 2014 at Putra World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur.

IMCG 2014 was organized by the Medical Genetics Society of Malaysia with the aim of highlighting and exploring advances in the medical field to improve cancer care with the latest DNA technologies such as targeted treatments, prevention and prognosis.

Norlaily‘s research, titled "Next-generation sequencing of miRNA of hypoxic cultured BM-MSC, the possibility for cancer therapy" and Lily‘s "Differential miRNAs profiling expression associated with three-dimensional structure of cancer stem cell-like spheroid model derived from human breast cancer MCF7 cells using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS)", incorporates the latest sequencing platform available in Malaysia "Illumina next generation sequencing" to elucidate the expression profiles of small RNAs. This new technology has introduced time and cost advantages over the firstgeneration sequencing, Sanger sequencing. As emphasized by the plenary speaker Dr. Marcel Nelen (Netherlands), the use of NGS is not just limited to research but also for clinical and diagnostic settings.

The projects were under the supervision of Associate Professor Dr. Alan Ong and cosupervision of Emeritus Prof. Dr. Cheong Soon Keng. Both recipients of the award are very grateful to UTARRF (6200/A14 and 6200/A15) as well as MOSTI E-Science Fund (2012-2014) for funding the projects and to their team members which includes collaborator, Dr Yeap Swee Keong, from Institute Bioscience (IBS), Universiti Putra Malaysia and Dr Ho Wan Yong from The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus.

Best Poster Award in BSGC 2014

Image 22: Sia with her award-winning poster

UTAR Master of Science student Sia Siew Chuiang clinched the Best Poster Award in the 19th Biological Sciences Graduate Congress (BSGC) held at National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore from 12 to 14 December 2014.

Sia won the Best Poster Award in the Cell, Molecular and Development Biology category for her presentation titled ‘Characterisation of SFN6B Shigella flexneri specific bacteriophages and selection of specific antibodies for the development of diagnostic application for Shigella infection.’ She received a certificate and an NUS souvenir for winning the Best Poster Award.

Sia’s project aimed to isolate Shigella flexneri specific bacteriophage, SFN6B from the environmental water reservoir and analyse the host specificity, genomic lineages and viability in the various water samples of SFN6B. The selection of the antibody that specifically interacts with SFN6B enables it to be used for the capturing and detection of SFN6B which could serve as the basis for future studies and application.

BSGC is an annual congress that provides the platform for graduate students and delegates from universities in South East Asia to exchange ideas and present the latest findings from their research. The Congress also builds bridges to establish future collaborations among young scientists.