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Appointment of Adjunct Associate Professor Strengthen Universities’ Collaboration

12 Jul 2018

July 2018 – Dr Stuart Clarke, Associate Professor in Infectious Disease Epidemiology in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Southampton has been re-appointed as Adjunct Associate Professor at International Medical University (IMU), Malaysia. Dr Clarke’s research focuses on the molecular epidemiology of Streptococcus pneumoniae and other vaccine-preventable bacterial infections, particularly in relation to polysaccharide conjugate vaccines. In addition, he has been involved in various pneumococcal and MenB carriage studies globally. Dr Clarke is also a partner in the Global Pneumococcal Sequencing Project. This study aims to examine the effect of the rollout of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine on pneumococcal strains escaping the vaccine in developing countries through the sequencing and comparison of whole genome sequences of the species before and after vaccination.

During his first stint as the Adjunct Associate Professor with IMU, Dr Stuart Clarke has actively engaged with IMU students through research talk and research supervision. He also hosted two IMU Bachelor of Science (Hon) Biomedical Science student for an eight-week attachment at his laboratory at University of Southampton, UK. Separately, Dr Clarke contributed significantly to IMU research and co-supervised a PhD student. He was the principal investigator of a cross institutional (including IMU) research project awarded by the Newton Fund. He has also coordinated several research proposals involving IMU that have been submitted to funding bodies both nationally and internationally. Speaking about his appointment as IMU Adjunct Associate Professor, Dr Clarke said, “My Adjunct appointment has fostered a strong collaboration between IMU and Southampton colleagues. Importantly, it has broadened the scope of collaboration to enable additional projects and supervision of postgraduate students.” In addition, Dr Clarke has also commented about his research experience in Malaysia.

“Undertaking research in Malaysia has been very rewarding for myself and local colleagues. We have built strong collaborations between infectious disease researchers across Malaysia. The greatest challenge was building a research partnership between different University partners but, once achieved, this led to a number of achievements. Firstly, we were awarded a Newton Fund Institutional Links award which enabled us to undertake a number of studies in Peninsular and Borneo Malaysia. Secondly, due to our activities, we were shortlisted for the 2017 Newton Prize.”

“IMU is a strong partner with Southampton, for both teaching and research. Our Newton Fund activities have allowed this to strengthen further in the past few years and IMU was key in assisting with the overall project aims, as well as leading on some of our clinical studies.” Dr Clarke hopes that the new appointment will further strengthen the research dynamics between IMU and University of Southampton. He plans to continue the interaction with students and undertake research visits to Malaysia. Further, several plans had been lay out to broaden the collaboration. Among them includes capacity building, training and establishment of a joint research facility.

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