Celebrating women in science

(From fifth left) MINDS founding president and academician Emeritus Prof Tan Sri Dr Augustine S.H. Ong, Isnaraissah, Prof Khatijah and Dr Omar at the conference.

A WOMEN scientist group, LadyMINDS which is part of the Malaysian Invention and Design Society (MINDS), took the opportunity to recognise prominent Malaysian female scientists who have made great strides in the scientific fields by organising the National Conference on Scientific Research Achievements by Malaysian Women.

The conference was to inspire, encourage and entice younger students to pursue their passion in science.

Deputy Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis opened the conference held at Rumah Universiti at Universiti Malaya (UM).

The broad and spectacular lineup of topics were delivered by eminent women scientists from Medicine (Prof Datuk Dr Looi Lai Meng, Senior Consultant Histopathologist, Universiti Malaya Medical Centre) to Chemistry (Prof Dr Goh Lai Yoong, Fellow, Academy of Sciences Malaysia), Physics (Prof Dr Wan Haliza Abd Majid, Head of Low Dimensional Materials Research Centre, UM), Engineering (Prof Dr Leong Wai Yie, IET Malaysia Chairperson), Mathematics (Prof Dr Maslina Darus, professor of Mathematics, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia), Biology (Prof Dr Phang Siew Moi, director, Ocean & Earth Sciences and Institute of Biology, UM) and Biotechnology (Dr Ravigadevi Sambanthamurthi, honorary professor of Biotechnology, University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus).

Academician Emeritus Prof Tan Sri Dr Omar Abdul Rahman joined the morning sessions and Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur Rev Julian Leow attended part of the afternoon session.

About 120 participants ranging from academics, professors, professionals to students attended the conference.

Students came from Kuantan, Pahang and within Kuala Lumpur from three different schools, SM Teknik Kuantan, SMK Abdul Rahman Talib and King Henry VIII College respectively.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology Malaysia Network also sent 20 members from their OnCampus chapters to join. Eleven universities attended the conference. These included HELP University, University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, Universiti Teknologi Mara, UM, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Xiamen University Malaysia, International Medical University, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Monash University, MAHSA University and Sunway University.

Representatives from Institut Kimia Malaysia and the Malaysian Palm Oil Board also attended the conference.

At the end of each module, there were lively and interactive Q&A discussions between the module presenters and the audience chaired by Datuk Dr Choo Yuen May, the chairperson of the conference organising committee.

The highlight of the celebration was the conferment of the inaugural Lifetime Scientific Research Achievements Women’s Award on Prof Datin Paduka Dr Khatijah Yusoff, for her outstanding scientific research in the field of microbiology, and her inspiring contributions to science and the nation.

She is currently Unesco World Academy of Sciences for East and South East Asia vice president, Islamic World Academy of Sciences vice president and a member of the United Nations’ Council of Scientific Advisers for the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology.

Apart from the talks, an exhibition showcasing the research of Prof Goh, Prof Wan Haliza, Prof Leong, Prof Phang and Dr Ravigadevi was also held.

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