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IMU Biomedical Science Lecturer Awarded YPASM Research Grant for Innovative Antarctic Microalgae Study

18 Jun 2024

Dr Shamala Salvamani, a Senior Lecturer in IMU’s Division of Applied Biomedical Science and Biotechnology (ABSB), along with her co-investigators, has been awarded a research grant by Yayasan Penyelidikan Antartika Sultan Mizan (YPASM) under the Smart Partnership Initiative. The grant, amounting to RM 140,000, will fund the research project entitled “Elucidating the Anti-diabetic Potential of Antarctic Microalgae through a Multi-faceted Approach: Enzymatic Assays, In Vitro Insulin Sensitive Cell Models and Transcriptomic Analysis.”

Dr Shamala, the principal investigator, received the grant from His Royal Highness Al-Wathiqu Billah Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah, Sultan of Terengganu and Patron of YPASM, at the Opening Ceremony of the 10th Malaysian International Seminar on Antarctica (MISA) on 14 May 2024, hosted by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM).


The Opening Ceremony was attended by distinguished guests, including YB Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability (NRES); YB Mulia Tengku Seri Bijaya Raja Dato’ Seri Tengku Farok Hussin Tengku Abdul Jalil, Secretary of the Government of Terengganu; YB Datuk Dr Ching Thoo, Secretary-General, NRES; YB Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr Salleh Mohd Nor, Member of the Board of Trustees of YPASM; YB Prof Dato’ Ts Dr Norazah Mohd Nordin, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Industry and Community Network Affairs, UKM; and YBrs Abd Shukor Jamaluddin, Chief Executive Officer of YPASM, along with invited guests and national and international polar researchers.

The Research Team

IMU Research Team

Dr Shamala Salvamani
A/Prof Ts Dr Wong Chiew Yen
A/Prof Ts Dr Kok Yih Yih
A/Prof Dr Lim Chooi Ling, and
A/Prof Dr Lee Choy Sin

Collaboration with

A/Prof Dr Siti Aqlima Ahmad from UPM and
Asst Prof Dr Baskaran Gunasekaran from UCSI University

Partnership with international researchers, including

Prof Dr Peter Convey from the British Antarctic Survey, United Kingdom
Emeritus Prof Dr John Beardall from Monash University, Australia

Antarctic microalgae, adapted to extreme environmental conditions, possess remarkable biochemical diversity, making them intriguing candidates for therapeutic exploration. By scrutinising their molecular composition and metabolic pathways, the research aims to identify compounds that can modulate pathways involved in glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity. This investigation seeks not only to expand our understanding of these microorganisms but also to pave the way for developing nutraceutical interventions for diabetes. The pursuit of anti-diabetic solutions in Antarctic microalgae represents an innovative frontier in diabetes research, potentially providing alternative or complementary approaches to current treatments.

About Yayasan Penyelidikan Antartika Sultan Mizan

Yayasan Penyelidikan Antartika Sultan Mizan (YPASM) was established in 2012 to encourage Malaysian scientists to engage in Antarctic research, enhance research capabilities and sustain Malaysia’s presence in Antarctica. Malaysia is one of 42 countries that are signatories to the Madrid Protocol, which it acceded on 15 August 2016.


Shortly after YPASM’s establishment, the Smart Partnership Initiative was introduced, with IMU University being one of the 10 founding members. This group also includes USM, UM, UMS, UMT, UiTM, UKM, UPM, UMK and UMP. Partner universities contribute annually to the YPASM fund, and IMU University stands out as the only private university in the partnership, underscoring its commitment to global planetary wellbeing through research.

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