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Honouring Research at the First Virtual Malaysian Symposium of Biomedical Science

18 Mar 2021

The 11th Malaysian e-Symposium of Biomedical Science (MYSYMBIOS), a national-level undergraduate symposium, took place on 6 and 7 March 2021 via the ZOOM platform. This year, the International Medical University (IMU) was conferred the honour to host this annual symposium, with the aim of gathering final-year students, researchers, and intellectual figures in biomedical science across Malaysia and providing them with the platform to present their research. Universities which had hosted this event include Universiti Malaya (UM) and Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), the latter which was the preceding host in 2019. Despite a hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic, this year’s event, held on the virtual platform in accordance to the safety guidelines from the Ministry of Health, was a novel and exciting experience for many.

The highly successful event congregated more than 400 biomedical science undergraduate students and faculty from 17 private and public universities across Malaysia, inclusive of both oral and poster presenters. Participation was also extended to graduates to enable them to share their research findings due to the postponement of the event last year. Furthermore, to accommodate the diverse nature of biomedical research, the scope of participation ranged from hands-on laboratory-based studies to that of bioinformatics, meta-analyses and systematic reviews.

Biomedical Science is a constantly evolving field, rife with rapid developments and new discoveries. As such, the theme for the 2021 symposium of ‘Honouring the Past, Treasuring the Present, Shaping the Future’ is especially apt. The gathering of minds had provided an opportunity for researchers to reflect upon past achievements and discuss emerging advances in the fields of health science research and diagnostics worldwide. Truly a student-driven programme, the organising committee consisted of 32 talented IMU Biomedical Science undergraduates from various cohorts led by the Chairperson, Thiviya. The team was supported by Dr Shamala Salvamani, the event advisor, and Dr Lim Chooi Ling, Head of the Applied Biomedical Science and Biotechnology (ABSB) Division. Dr Koh Rhun Yian, Dr Ebenezer Chitra and A/Prof Chye Soi Moi helmed the scientific committee for review of abstracts, while Dr Fabian Davamani guided the IT team.

Three renowned researchers were keynote speakers of the event:
Prof Chee-Onn Leong Deputy Director of Institute for Research, Development and Innovation (IRDI), IMU Oncology
Prof Umah Rani Kuppusamy Professor, University Malaya and member of the Allied Health Professions Council Joint Technical Committee Non-Communicable Diseases
Prof Syafinaz Binti Amin Nordin Head of Department, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia) Microbiology

The event was launched with an inspiring opening speech by the Vice-Chancellor of IMU, Prof Zabidi Azhar Mohd Hussin, whereas Prof Winnie Chee, the Dean of School of Health Sciences, IMU, summarised the events in the closing remarks.

Biomedical Science Faculty from the participating universities, including UM, UPM, UKM, USM, UCSI, Taylor’s University, and UTAR were invited to judge the 40 oral and 30 poster presentations. Outstanding presenters of the 11th MYSYMBIOS not only received a certificate of achievement, but also cash prizes of up to RM300.

Winners of the individual categories included the following awardees from IMU:
Nur Adania Binti Shaibie (BM117) 1st prize Oral Presentation Oncology Category
Pravin Kumran A/L Nyanasegran (BM117) 2nd prize Oral Presentation Non-Communicable Disease Category
Ooi Li Ting (BM118) 2nd prize Poster Presentation Wet-Lab Category

The symposium concluded on a hopeful note with an official handover to the next hosting university, Nottingham University Malaysia for the 12th MYSYMBIOS in 2022. May this succession of the annual symposia continue to inspire future generations of biomedical scientists to contribute to Malaysia’s progressive health science research.

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