Setting the bar in education


  • Nation
  • Sunday, 19 Jul 2020

Cheah’s belief in working with the best and learning from the best also birthed the appointments of the Jeffrey Cheah distinguished professors.

Under the collaboration between Jeffrey Cheah Foundation and globally acclaimed academic institutions, eminent experts and scholars - who have contributed to solving critical global issues in health, disease and economy amongst others - are appointed to share their knowledge and expertise with Malaysian academics, students and the general public.

Among the prominent names on the list are:

Prof Jeffrey David Sachs

As a world renowned economist and director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Prof Sachs is one of the world’s most influential experts on sustainable economic development.

A passionate leader in the fight against poverty and the special advisor to the UN secretary-general on sustainable development, he has advised heads of states and governments on economic strategy for more than a quarter century.

Appointed as an honorary Jeffrey Cheah distinguished professor of sustainable development at Sunway University this year, he is also the chairman of the Jeffrey Sachs Centre on Sustainable Development.

Prof Sir Leszek Borysiewicz

The chairman of Cancer Research United Kingdom (UK) since 2016, Prof Borysiewicz is an Honorary Jeffrey Cheah distinguished professor who is now the emeritus vice-chancellor of the University of Cambridge, after serving as its vice-chancellor from 2011 to 2017.

A founding fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, he has been chief executive of the UK’s Medical Research Council since 2007 and was knighted in 2001 for his breakthroughs in vaccines, including developing Europe’s first trial of a vaccine to treat cervical cancer.



Prof Sir Alan Fersht

World leading protein scientist Prof Fersht, also an honorary Jeffrey Cheah distinguished professor and life fellow of Gonville and Caius College Cambridge, is widely regarded as one of the main pioneers of protein engineering, which is a process to analyse the structure, activity and folding of proteins.

His current research involves a fusion of protein engineering, structural biology, biophysics and chemistry to study the structure, activity, stability and folding of proteins, as well as the role of protein misfolding and instability in cancer and disease.

Prof Kay-Tee Khaw

Prof Khaw, a leading expert in the field of health and disease, is a Jeffrey Cheah professorial fellow in Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. She is currently one of the principal UK scientists working on the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, a Europe-wide project investigating the links between diet, lifestyle and cancer.

Appointed as a Commander of the order of the British Empire in 2003, Prof Khaw has been recognised for developing improved methods for collecting information on people’s diets and levels of exercise and relating this to the number of diagnosed cancer cases.

Prof Rema Hanna

A highly distinguished economist, Prof Hanna is the Jeffrey Cheah professor of South East Asia Studies and chair of the Harvard Kennedy School International Development Area, as well as the faculty director of evidence for policy design at Harvard’s Centre for International Development and the co-scientific director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab South East Asia office in Indonesia.

Her focus is on improving overall service delivery, understanding the impacts of corruption, bureaucratic absenteeism and discrimination against disadvantaged minority groups on delivery outcomes.

Prof Ketan J Patel

Prof Patel is a Jeffrey Cheah professorial fellow in Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and the principal research scientist at the famous MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in the University of Cambridge.

His research, which focuses on the molecular basis of inherited genomic instability and the role it plays in the biology of stem cells, has been recognised through prestigious awards and prizes, including being elected as a fellow of the Royal Society of London, a member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation and a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences UK.

Prof John Todd

The Jeffrey Cheah fellow in medicine at Brasenose College, Oxford and professor of precision medicine, Prof Todd is a leading pioneer researcher in the fields of genetics, immunology and diabetes. His research areas include Type 1 diabetes genetics and disease mechanisms with the aim of clinical intervention.

In his former role as a professor of human genetics and a Wellcome Trust principal research fellow at Oxford, he helped pioneer genome-wide genetic studies, first in mice and then in humans.

Prof William Swadling

Prof Swadling, a Jeffrey Cheah professorial fellow, is a senior law fellow at Brasenose College, Oxford and Professor in the Law of Property in the Oxford University Law School.

An expert on the Law of Restitution, he is a contributor to Halsbury’s Laws of England, wrote the section on property in Burrows (ed) English Private Law and is widely cited in the British courts.

Prof William James

A Jeffrey Cheah professorial fellow emeritus and fellow in medicine at Brasenose College, Oxford, Prof James is a virologist with a background in genetics and microbiology.

As the professor of virology with the University of Oxford, he is the principal investigator at the Stem Cell Research Institute of Oxford, running a research lab studying HIV-macrophage biology using stem cell technology.

Prof Mark Wilson

Prof Wilson, the dean of Brasenose College, is a Jeffrey Cheah professorial fellow at the college and the professor of physical chemistry in the University of Oxford’s physical and theoretical chemistry department.

The primary focus of his research interest is on the construction, development and application of relatively simple potential models to assess a wide range of systems with potentially unique properties.

Prof Jarlath Ronayne

Appointed in 2010 as the first Jeffrey Cheah distinguished professor, Prof Ronayne is a key member of Sunway University’s board of directors and has played a pivotal role in establishing links between Sunway, Oxford and Cambridge.

Under his leadership, the Jeffrey Cheah Professorial Fellowships at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge as well as Brasenose College, Oxford and the Jeffrey Cheah Scholar-in-Residence programmes in both colleges were established, alongside the prestigious Oxford University-Jeffrey Cheah Graduate Scholarship launched by the British High Commissioner in 2018. All these initiatives are in perpetuity.

Prof Sibrandes Poppema

A medical expert on Hodgkin’s disease, Prof Poppema has published more than 200 articles that have been cited more than 17,000 times.

The Jeffrey Cheah distinguished professor is also the co-owner of 12 patents and the founder of two biotechnology companies, as well as the advisor to the chancellor at Sunway University, especially on the establishment of a new medical school at the university.

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