M’sian sci­en­tist who dis­cov­ered su­per­bug so­lu­tion hon­oured

The Star Malaysia - - Nation -

KUALA LUMPUR: Dr Lam Shu Jie – the sci­en­tist who dis­cov­ered a so­lu­tion to an­tibi­otic-re­sis­tant bac­te­ria – has been be­stowed the Out­stand­ing Malaysian Chi­nese Award.

The 26-year-old took an eighthour flight from Syd­ney to Kuala Lumpur to at­tend the Chi­nese Com­mu­nity Pa­tri­otic Assem­bly at the Pu­tra World Trade Cen­tre here where she re­ceived the award.

Dr Lam said she never ex­pected such a recog­ni­tion and was hon­oured that the Malaysian Chi­nese com­mu­nity chose her as one of the re­cip­i­ents.

“I feel very hon­oured and sur­prised. When they con­tacted me, I said sure, I’ll come back to re­ceive it,” said an elated Dr Lam.

“And to see such a huge at­ten­dance to cel­e­brate Malaysia Day and the Malaysian Chi­nese achieve­ments makes me feel re­ally proud to be part of it,” she said.

Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Tun Razak pre­sented the award to her dur­ing the assem­bly.

Dr Lam, who only spent some 24 hours in Malaysia, is fly­ing back to Syd­ney this morn­ing where she is cur­rently work­ing for a multi­na­tional com­pany serv­ing the com­bined in­dus­tries of health in­for­ma­tion tech­nolo­gies and clin­i­cal re­search.

She said her “never give up” at­ti­tude was what led to her sci­en­tific break­through when she and her team of re­searchers dis­cov­ered a pos­si­ble so­lu­tion to the an­tibiot- ic-re­sis­tant bac­te­ria com­monly known as “su­per­bugs” when she did her PhD in Chem­i­cal En­gi­neer­ing.

She holds on to a piece of ad­vice by her late pae­di­a­tri­cian fa­ther, Dr Lam Pan Nam – to do one’s best in ev­ery­thing and be ac­count­able for what one does.

“I looked up to my fa­ther, keep­ing in mind what he used to tell me, that I don’t need to be the best in ev­ery­thing but just do my best,” said Dr Lam.

Born in Scot­land when her fa­ther was do­ing his spe­cial­ist train­ing there, Dr Lam grew up in Batu Pa­hat where she at­tended SJKC Ai Chun 1

and the Te­meng­gong Ibrahim Girls’ School.

She went on to score 11 A1s in her SPM and did her foun­da­tion stud­ies at the Univer­sity of Mel­bourne. Her ex­cel­lent re­sults saw the Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment giv­ing her a full schol­ar­ship to pur­sue her Chem­i­cal En­gi­neer­ing de­gree at the same univer­sity.

“I found a deep in­ter­est in un­der­stand­ing why things hap­pen and solv­ing prob­lems. That’s how it led to me pur­su­ing a PhD.

“Dur­ing my PhD, it was my su­per­vi­sor who asked me if I wanted to take up the chal­lenge of find­ing a so­lu­tion to an­tibi­otic-re­sis­tant bac­te­ria and so I started.

“It wasn’t easy and straight­for­ward. We tested a lot of dif­fer­ent com­pounds un­til we found one that worked and fur­ther op­ti­mised it,” she said.

Dr Lam re­ceived the award along­side na­tional shut­tler Datuk Lee Chong Wei and diver Cheong Jun Hoong.

Lee, a three-time Olympic sil­ver medal­list, man­aged to squeeze in some time to train early in the morn­ing be­fore at­tend­ing the event.

He was pre­par­ing for the up­com­ing Dai­hatsu Yonex Ja­pan Open which will be held from next Tues­day to Sun­day.

Lee had to leave right af­ter the event yes­ter­day as he needed to board a flight to Ja­pan.

Cheong hoped that the award can serve as a mo­ti­va­tion to inspire oth­ers to move for­ward and scale greater heights.

Stel­lar achieve­ments: Dr Lam (left) with diver Cheong Jun Hoong and shut­tler Datuk Lee Chong Wei, who were also award re­cip­i­ents.

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