The International Medical University (IMU) made its debut appearance at the Malaysian Technology Expo™ (MTE) from 16-18 March 2023 at the World Trade Centre (WTC) in Kuala Lumpur. The MTE is an annual event that celebrates exceptional work of innovators, researchers, scientists, students, and entrepreneurs from around the world. Since its inception in 2001, the expo has grown to become the leading innovation event in the region through collaborations with local and foreign academic institutions, inventor associations, and research partners. The expo also provides a marketplace for exhibitors to showcase their most innovative solutions and scalable technologies to high-quality investors, as well as networking opportunities with a diverse pool of enthusiasts.
IMU’s participation in this year’s MTE was initiated by Fatimah binti Muhammad, Business Operation Lead at the Institute for Research, Development, and Innovation (IRDI).
The participation received endless support from Prof Datuk Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Director of IRDI, as well as the two deputy directors, Prof Wong Shew Fung, Deputy Director of Research, and A/Prof Teguh Haryo Sasongko, the Acting Deputy Director of Commercialisation and Support. Members of IMU Senior Management Team also showed their support by visiting IMU booth at WTC.
For their first participation, IMU was represented by five talented innovators from various backgrounds and achieved a solid win of 4 silver and 1 bronze awards.
|Dr Elaine Chan Wan Ling from IMU-IRDI
|For her work on artificial intelligence (AI) and developing a new algorithm for computer vision in digital cytology and pathology.
For MTE2023, Dr Elaine introduced new technology called DiagnoSlide-Computer-aided Recognition System Pathology Slide Assessment in Cancer Diagnosis. This technology was deemed very useful to help provide a fast and reliable diagnosis through a digitalised sample slide.
A computer-based software was developed to recognise slide images prepared from biological samples to help diagnose cancers. This unique software can help provide a fast diagnosis by just uploading the images and paying a subscription fee either annually or per slide for analysis. The slide interpretation can be made in less than 2 minutes, which can save 1 million man-hours each year for the average 20 million slides that need to be interpreted, and this could be performed by anyone on site with less bias compared to analysis done by human experts. Compared to other instruments, this software can recognise images captured from any brand of whole slide scanners and even conventional microscope.
Dr Elaine aims to develop a dynamic solution that can recognise a full range of cancers in the future.
|A/Prof Dr Amalraj Fabian Davamani (from IMU School of Health Sciences) and his team
|For an invention “3D Virtual Interactive with 360-degree View Laboratory for Microbiology Skills Training”
This innovative invention was built to help students personalise their learning focus and receive tailored guidance and clear instruction in a cost-effective manner.
The virtual laboratory is designed to mimic the actual laboratory procedure practiced in the university’s real laboratory by adapting Kolb’s experimental learning cycle, whereby students learn by active experimentation followed by actual experience that leads to reflective observation and abstract conceptualisation.
This is aligned with IMU’s commitment to diversify into e-learning systems since the COVID-19 pandemic hit worldwide.
Analysis of student experiences showed positive feedback, as seen from an increase in the knowledge score from 6.31 to 7.13 after using the VR laboratory, indicating that students found the activities engaging and interesting in helping them recall knowledge and learn the experimental procedure. This technology is 100% scalable and can be transferred to any university or any microbiology teaching programme for undergraduate students.
|A/Prof Dr ChM Lee Choy Sin from the School of Pharmacy
|For her research on “A New Multifunctional Drug Excipient Using Palm-based Polyesteramide”
Dr Lee and her research team are well-known for their active work on the synthesis of use-inspired macromolecules for developing polymeric systems that are environmentally friendly and biodegradable, targeted for pharmaceutical, medical, and biomedical applications.
This invention is aligned with Sustainable Development Goals 3, “Good Health and Well-being,” by enhancing pharmaceutical formulations for effective and affordable medicines, and Sustainable Development Goals 12, “Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns,” by utilising biobased feedstocks, namely palm-based oleochemicals in the production of the excipients.
In this research, Dr Lee and her team managed to come up with two distinct series of polyesteramides, linear and hyperbranching, with unique physico-chemical properties and molecular weight. Pre-formulations containing a model drug and the invented polyesteramide showed more than 60% enhancement in aqueous solubility and 3-fold improved dissolution rate compared to the established marketed formulation. The polyesteramides were also successfully used as a binder in tablet formulations with their biosafety confirmed through MTT assay.
This project involves a novel formulation for a two-step-etch-and-rinse adhesive for teeth filling that is based on an antimicrobial and potent collagen crosslinking agent (tooth therapy). The formulation combines antimicrobial activities and protease inhibitory properties without interfering with bonding capabilities.
The use of this formulation has shown remarkable results in bond strength of adhesive to teeth and is non-toxic to pulp stem cells, biologically compatible, and easy to use on human teeth.
|Dr Kavitha Mohandas, an external researcher, in collaboration with Prof Mallikarjuna Rao Pichika and other researchers from IMU
|For their project “Blood-Free Agar for the Cultivation of Blood-Loving Bacteria”
This invention began with Dr Mohandas’s determination to find alternative formulations by replacing animal blood with more ethical, animal-cruelty-free, and eco-friendly substances.
Blood-based media are well-established and routinely used in bacteriological media. Animals such as sheep and horses are specially bred for the purpose of manufacturing blood agar plates. This process is expensive, labor-intensive, associated with a high carbon footprint and animal welfare concerns, besides posing a health risk to laboratory workers due to the potential for transmission of blood-borne pathogens from the source animal blood or animal extract to the laboratory operator. Hence, four novel bacteriological media, completely blood-free and animal-extract-free, were initiated for the cultivation of both hemophilic (blood-loving) and non-hemophilic (non-blood-loving) bacteria.
These novel agars support good to excellent growth of a variety of bacterial pathogens. In addition, they have a superior health, safety, economic, ethical, and environmental profile in comparison to blood-based agars. As blood agar plates are used routinely in diagnostic and research laboratories worldwide, the market volume for the novel, blood-free and animal-extract free agars targeted to replace blood agars in the laboratory is expected to be commensurately huge.
MTE2023 has been immensely helpful in facilitating networking opportunities with academia, inventors’ associations, and research partners. This is also the case for IMU-IRDI Research Laboratory which offers ISO17025-accredited service tests to our industrial and research customers. Our IRDI team and innovators have gained valuable experience in pitching our products and innovations, answering technical questions, and engaging with potential customers. With the knowledge we have gained at MTE2023, IMU will continue to participate in other competitions and prepare for future events.
Congratulations to all the winners!