The Women of the Future Awards Southeast Asia: Two Nominated

Founded in 2006, The Women of the Future Awards Southeast Asia aims to recognise inspirational women across diverse fields.

This year two very talented women from the School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham Malaysia – Ho Wan Yong and New Siu Yee, have been nominated for this award in the Science, Technology and Digital category. This category recognises a group of truly remarkable young females, who have forged new grounds in scientific endeavours, as well as ground-breaking achievements in the worlds of science and technology.

Wan Yong’s primary research interest resides in the study of cancer stem cell (CSC) regulation in breast cancer cell lines. At present, she is studying the role of mRNAs (messenger ribonucleic acid) and microRNAs in the modulation of breast CSCs. She is also passionate in exploring anti-cancer properties of various natural products including herbs, functional foods and agricultural products.

“Some of the applications of my research include the identification of mRNA and microRNA to be used as biomarkers, prognostics tools or even therapeutics for cancers. Besides, I hope to provide research informed evidence of the efficacy and toxicity of the application of complementary and alternative medicine in treating cancers by screening of traditional medicinal plants and functional foods for their anti-cancer activities. Collectively, I wish that my research can help to reduce the burden of cancer in Malaysia as well as in the world,” explains Wan Yong.

Siu Yee’s work meanwhile, focuses on developing a smart sensor to detect a cancer biomarker called circulating microRNA. This allows cancer diagnosis via simple blood collection and avoids painful surgical biopsy.

“My aim is to make the cancer diagnosis simple, cheap, effective and non-invasive, so that it is accessible by all, especially by those from low-resource settings. The materials that I used called DNA templated nanoclusters, are relatively new, with only two groups currently working on it in Malaysia. I am really excited about the shortlisting – it is a recognition to the team’s hard works and efforts. This occasion has given me an opportunity to promote this nanomaterial to a wider context,” she says.

Wan Yong says it’s exciting and a great honour to be shortlisted amongst the many talented female scientists and technologists in Southeast Asia and she is truly delighted and thankful to receive such recognition from the panel of judges of this prestigious award.

Siu Yee believes that a Woman of the Future should be someone who is not just excel in her field, but could also bring changes and inspire young people in this field.

Leveraging on the award shortlisting, I hope to draw greater attention from the younger generation, thereby engaging them to learn and value the importance of science and technology,” Wan Yong said.

According Head of School of Pharmacy Professor Ting Kang Nee: “Both Wan Yong and Siu Yee are key members of the School of Pharmacy who have been actively promoting science through many of activities that they passionately lead. They are highly committed and produce high quality of research and are also excellent teachers. Their nomination for this Award is a true reflection of their talent and commitment towards science.”

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