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IMU Researchers Secured More Than RM1.16 Million FRGS Research Grant 2019

23 Aug 2019

Eight researchers from the International Medical University (IMU) had successfully secured more than RM1.1.6 million of research funding in the recent cycle of Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS), bringing the success rate to 26.7% in 2019. The recipients are:

Prof Leong Chee Onn, Deputy Director of Research, Institute for Research, Development, and Innovation 
Project title: Regulation of Nasopharygeal Cancer Cells (NPC) Survival by p38 Mitogen Activated Protein Kinase (MAPK)
Synopsis: New evidences have been suggesting that p38 proteins enhance cancer cells survival in nasopharygeal cancer cells (NPC). However, the precise mechanism is unclear. This study aims to investigate the molecular mechanisms by which p38 proteins regulate cell survival in nasopharyngeal cancer cells.
Prof Chu Wan Loy, Dean of School of Postgraduate Studies
Project title: Influence of Micro- and Nanoplastic (Polyethylene Micro- and Nanosphere) on the Combined Toxicity of Copper and Cadmium in Microalgae
Synopsis: Pollution due to plastics and heavy metals has received much attention as it may have adverse impact on the environment, which ultimately may affect human health. This study aims to investigate how polyethylene microplastic (< 5 mm) and  nanoplastic
Dr Khaw Loke Tim from School of Pharmacy
Project title: An Alternative Nitric Oxide-based Strategy in Protecting Against Experimental Cerebral Malaria
Synopsis: This study aims to determine the effectiveness and safety of nitric-oxide donors which are compounds that can release nitric oxide in our body systems to be delivered alongside with the standard antimalarial therapy in treating cerebral malaria.
Dr Vasudeva Rao Avupati from School of Pharmacy
Project title: Identification of Pharmacophoric Features for Potent and Selective Inhibition of 5-Lipoxygenase (5-LO): Synthesis of Novel Chemotype Hybrids and their Molecular Mechanisms in Atherosclerosis
Synopsis: 5-Lipoxygenase (5-LO) is a well-established therapeutic target for the treatment of atherosclerosis. However, there are no drugs available for treatment of atherosclerosis that target 5-LO. This project aims to identify the structural requirements of novel chemotype hybrid molecules for the selective inhibition of 5-LO activity and also to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of 5-LO inhibitors in atherosclerosis.
Dr Lee Choy Sin from School of Pharmacy
Project title: Smart Palm Oil-based Polyurethane-Acrylate with pH, Light and Thermal Responsive Properties: An Isocyanate-free Route
Synopsis: Dr Lee and her team will be working on the development of “smart polymer” from palm oil. Smart polymer or intelligent polymer, referring to polymers with the ability to respond to environmental stimulus, such as pH, temperature, UV, electric field, enzymes or even mechanical stress. The team proposed to produce a green multi-stimuli-responsive polyurethane (PU) from palm oil via a non-isocyanate route, in view of the majority of the PU products in the market are produced by the carcinogenic reactants, isocyanate. The palm oil-based PU system is aimed to be developed into biomaterials for drug delivery, tissue engineering, biosensor and/or implantable medical devices.
Dr Chan Li Li from School of Medicine
Project title:  Silencing Novel Stress Response Protein Encoding Gene of Virulent Acanthamoeba castellanii to Disrupt its Stress Defence
Synopsis: Acanthamoeba sp. are parasites that can infect humans resulting in neurological, cutaneous, pulmonary and ocular diseases. These notorious parasites need to withstand harsh growing conditions including toxic effects of antimicrobial drugs and immune attacks of human host in order to survive. This study aims to study the roles of stress responsive alpha beta barrel domain protein (SRP) gene in helping the Acanthamoeba castellanii parasite to deal with stress and their possible roles pertinent to the cellular processes and virulence of Acanthamoeba castellanii parasite.
Dr Kenny Voon Gah Leong from School of Medicine
Project title: Elucidating the Oncolytic Effect of Pteropine orthoreovirus in Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma Cell Lines
Synopsis: Preliminary results showed that Pteropine orthoreovirus (PRV), a virus from fruit bat, is able to infect various nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) cell lines and kill more than 80% of the cells after 48 hours post-infection. However, the mechanisms of PRV in killing the NPC cells are not known. Dr Kenny and team proposed to elucidate the oncolytic mechanism of PRV in the various NPC cell lines in this study.
Dr Sunil Pazhayanur Venkateswaran from School of Medicine
Project title: Anti-invasive Role of ‘Geraniol’, an Acyclic Monoterpene, Against Helicobacter pylori Using In Vitro and In Vivo Experimental Models
Synopsis: Helicobacter pylori bacteria can cause chronic infection in the stomach of humans and exposes them to high risk of stomach cancer. Preliminary study shows that geraniol, an essential oil, has direct anti-H.pylori and antiulcer effects. However, its exact mechanisms of inhibiting the bacterial survival and/or growth is not clear. Dr Sunil’s study aims to study if there is any inhibition in bacterial adhesion and invasion into suspected epithelial cells in the presence of geraniol.

FRGS grant is awarded by the Ministry of Education (MoE) to promote basic research that can develop theories, concepts, and new ideas towards knowledge development. Such research serves as the backbone to new discoveries and innovative creations contributing towards increasing intellectual level, creation of new technologies, and enriching a dynamic culture in line with our national aspiration.

Congratulations to all the recipients of FRGS Grants 2019 and all the best!

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