In the name of science
Three scientists receive grants from L’Oreal for their projects.
ASENIOR lecturer, research scientist and a student are the winners of this year’s L’Oreal Malaysia For Women In Science National Fellowships.
Dr Widad Ismail, Dr Lim Kue Peng and Chong Pan Pan join the line-up of 15 women scientists who have received L’Oreal Malaysia fellowships since its launch in 2006.
The annual award aims to offer assistance, encouragement and recognition to women who contribute to scientific progress. A jury panel picks three recipients who will each receive RM20,000 for their scientific project in Malaysia.
Jury president Prof Asma Ismail, Universiti Sains Malaysia deputy vice-chancellor for research and innovation, saluted the winners as “women with pioneer mindsets”.
“L’Oreal For Women In Science Award has provided financial assistance and support to over 900 women in 80 countries since its creation 12 years ago,” said L’Oreal Malaysia managing director Andrew Stanleick.
The programme is jointly conducted with the Malaysian National Commission for Unesco and supported by the Academy of Sciences Malaysia, the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry, and the Higher Education Ministry.
Alor Star-born Dr Widad, 34, is a senior lecturer and research scientist with Universiti Sains Malaysia School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering in Penang.
Her research focuses on the development and implementation of smart health community using second generation Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, which utilises radio waves to automatically identify people, objects or place at a distance without a direct line-ofsight.
Her work targets to build RFID applications for medicine administration and patient identification.
RFID can be used to distinguish forged and expired medicines, and monitors the availability of medicines to ensure sufficient stocks for emergencies. This is to improve efficiency of service
(clockwise from top) Dr Lim Kue Peng is working on a vaccine that targets cancer cells; Dr Widad Ismail is developing technology to improve efficiency of service delivery in healthcare while Chong Pan Pan is involved in stem cell research. delivery in the healthcare sector.
Dr Widad works closely with her role model, Prof Asma.
Prof Asma, she said, is “an incredible scientist who won more than 60 awards and recognitions both nationally and internationally.”
“It’s not easy juggling a career and family but it’s possible with smart planning,” said the mother of three. She believes in achieving quality work every day.
Post-doctoral research scientist with the Cancer Research Initiatives Foundation (Carif) Dr Lim, 34, said she was always saddened to read about cancer patients. The news of their diagnosis is devastating and sounds like a death sentence.
“I want to do something to help them through science,” said Dr Lim, who is from Cheras, Kuala Lumpur.
Her research project is to use vaccines to train immune cells to detect and recognise cancer cells which escape the immune system, and kill them.
“This form of targeted therapy generates a highly specific immune response towards the tumour and is expected to be associated with fewer side effects typically compared to chemotherapy.
“In addition, it can hunt out recurring cancer and is relatively cheaper compared with other targeted cancer treatment methods,” she explained.
Dr Lim’s role model is Nobel Laureate Marie Curie and she dreams of having a research life like Curie, who excelled during an era of male dominance. Curie discovered the theory of radioactivity and under her direction, people started to treat cancer using radioactive isotopes.
“Don’t be afraid of failure.
Women of science: