28th September 2015 marked another significant research milestone for University of Malaya (UM) through an exchange of Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) was held between UM and TC Chan School of Public Health, Harvard during the 5th Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council (GSIAC) meeting in New York, United States of America. The exchange was executed by the NanoMITe’s Program Leader, Professor Datuk Dr. Halimaton Hamdan and Professor Dr. Joseph Brain from Harvard which was witnessed by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak. Also in attendance was our Minister of Higher Education, Dato’ Seri Idris Jusoh, Ambassador of Malaysia to the United States, H.E Awang Adek Hussin, GSIAC members and University of Malaya’s Principal Investigator, Professor Dr. Noor Hayaty Abu Kasim.
NanoMITe (Malaysia Institute for Innovative Nanotechnology) is a consortium of distinguished local and international research universities coordinated by Ministry of Higher Education. NanoMITe was first initiated in 2015 and it is an initiative mooted by GSIAC, aimed at building and strengthening local capacity and capability in collaboration with Ivy League universities in nanotechnology to support and sustain Malaysia’s economic growth and transition from middle income country to a high-income economy by 2020.
NanoMITe has five flagship programmes focused on five different elements namely energy, wellness, medical and health care, food and agriculture, electronics, devices and systems and lastly environment. Each of these programmes is led by five different Malaysian research universities; Professor Datuk Dr. Halimaton Hamdan from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia leads for energy flagship programme entitled “Nanotechnology enabled efficient generation of renewable energy”
Food and agriculture programme, “Nanotechnology in detection and control of Ganoderma banoinense" is led by Professor Dr. Nor Azah Yusof from Universiti Putra Malaysia while a programme titled “Development of graphene-based Nanoelectro-mechanical Systems (NEMS) sensors and devices” under electronics, devices and systems is led by Professor Dato’ Dr. Burhanuddin Yeop Majlis from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Professor Dr. Abdul Rahman Mohamed from Universiti Sains Malaysia is the principal investigator for the environment programme, “Green technology and nanomaterial applications for the mitigation of greenhouse gases".
Professor Dr. Noor Hayaty Abu Kasim, University Malaya is leading the wellness, medical and healthcare programme entitled “Consequences of smoking among Malaysian population”. The programme collaborating partners include Harvard University, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Universiti Sains Malaysia and Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM).
This research programme focuses on development of Nano- Aerosol technology for the diagnosis and treatment of smoking-related diseases, namely chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD accounts to approximately 8.6% of death tolls across the globe as reported by World Health Organization (2012). It has been reported that optimal route for administering interventions is through the pulmonary route. However it requires specific characteristics of the delivery vehicles to optimise the drug efficacy in both pharmacodynamic as well as pharmacokinetics. Therefore, research in various perspectives such as computational design, synthesis of aerosolized nano-delivery system and its pharmacokinetic study are integral in this research. This programme also aims to investigate the health consequences of second hand smoking in Malaysia and to evaluate the intervention programmes to curb initiation of smoking among school going children.
NanoMITe, a five year program is expected to yield not only high impact publications but to nurture young Malaysians talents in the nanotechnology. We are hopeful that the outcome of all the five programmes will promote scholarship and be translated to the society at large.
More stories at UMR Bulletin Vol 2 2015