Collaborative talks on Biomedical Science, ICT and Green Technology

Academics from UTAR and University System of Taiwan (UST) gave talks on topics covering Biomedical Science, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), and Environment and Green Technology in three UTAR campuses of Sungai Long, Kuala Lumpur and Perak Campus from 21 until 24 July 2014.

Talks on Biomedical Science were held in Sungai Long Campus on 21 and 22 July. The talks provided a platform for the discussion of issues pertaining to biomedical research including cancer, cancer stem cells, immunology, microbiology and omic-technologies.

The speakers included UTAR Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS) Dean Emeritus Professor Dr Cheong Soon Keng, FMHS Deputy Dean for Student Development and Industrial Training Associate Professor Dr Alan Ong Han Kiat, Professor Dr Lo Jeng Fan and Professor Twu Yuh Ching from National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan.

Speaking on ‘Disease Modelling Using Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Technology’, Dr Cheong said, “Researchers have developed a technique for creating stem cells without the controversial use of human eggs or embryos. If this method can be perfected, it could quell the ethical debate troubling the field.”

He added, “The advantages of IPSC include access to an unlimited source of proliferating cells, having no loss of functionality upon expansion, its application in regenerative medicine, and in disease modelling. It is potentially the way to go in the future, but there is still a long way to go.”

Dr Cheong also mentioned about Dr Shinya Yamanaka, a Japanese stem cell researcher who won the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on the induction of pluripotent stem cells from mouse embryonic and fibroblast cultures by define factors.

Dr Cheong enjoying a light moment with the audience

Speaking on ‘Spheroid Enriched Cancer Stem Cells’, Dr Ong explained that it is the most common cancer among Malaysian women, and that one in 19 women will be diagnosed with the breast cancer in her lifetime.

“Over the last decade, there has been substantial evidence suggesting that breast cancer progression metastasis, drug resistance and recurrence are supported by cancer stem cells. They are a pool of self-renewing cancer stem cells within the tumours,” said Dr Ong.

He added, “The objective of this study includes identifying the molecular markers, and to determine drug resistance capacity of the spheroid-derived breast cancer stem cell types.”

Dr Ong enlightening the audience on Spheroid Enriched Cancer Stem Cells

Speaking on ‘Head and Neck Cancer – Cancer Stem Cell on Tumorigenesis’, Dr Lo explained how conventional therapy has failed in treating cancer, and that Cancer Stem Cell-Targeted Therapy has become the preferred treatment method now.

“The conventional method of therapy on a heterogeneous tumour tissue reduces the tumour bulk but increases the cancer stem cell fraction, which could lead to recurrence. However, in targeted therapy, cancer stem cells are targeted in a heterogeneous tumour tissue where they are abated and regression is seen,” said Dr Lo.

Dr Lo providing the definition of cancer stem cell

Speaking on ‘Immunotherapy for Acute Myeloid Leukemia’, Dr Twu explained that leukemia is a malignant disease of hematopoietic tissue characterised by replacement of normal bone marrow elements with abnormal blood cells.

“Leukemia cells are frequently present in peripheral blood, and commonly invade reticuloendothetial tissue including the spleen, liver and lymph nodes. They may also invade other tissue and infiltrate other organs in the body,” said Dr Twu.

She also spoke on Phagocytic and Natural Killer Cells which represent a subset of innate lymphoid cells that act as the first line of defense against viral infection, early transformation, and tumour growth. She then elaborated on approaches to immunotherapy such as Antibody Approaches, Cytokines and Cellular Approaches.

Talks on ICT were held in UTAR Kuala Lumpur Campus on 23 and 24 July. The talks provided knowledge about transmission and networking and “sensor computing”, which will enable efficient machine-to-machine communications.

The speakers included UTAR Faculty of Engineering and Science (FES), Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering Head Dr Victor Tan Hock Kim and FES Assistant Professor Dr Chong Poh Kit.

Speaking on ‘Wearable Computing with Arduino and Android’, Dr Chong said, “Why is Arduino wearable? Devices that use Arduino are smaller, are equipped with better batteries, and have cheaper electronic components. Apart from that, it enables life-logging where people improve their lives by analysing their daily activities.”

Arduino is a single-based micro-controller intended to make the application of interactive objects or environments more accessible.

Speaking on ‘Game Programming Using Unity’, Dr Tan introduced the concept of a game development using game engines, and demonstrated the construction of simple 2D and 3D game using the Unity game platform.

The Unity game engine is a cross-platform game engine used to develop video games for web plug-ins, desktop platforms, consoles and mobile devices.

Talks on Environment and Green Technology were held in UTAR Perak Campus on 24 July 2014. The talks provided understanding of the challenges of renewable energy generation from municipal wastewater by using hybrid two-stage anaerobic fluidised membrane bioreactor and production of bio-fuel.

The speakers comprised Professor Dr Shu Chin Hang from National Central University, Taiwan, Professor Dr Lin Jih Gaw and Professor Dr Chen Chiun Hsun from National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan.

Dr Shu spoke on ‘Challenges of Renewable Energy from Biomass’. He said, “There are advantages of using wood pellet over coal. It can eliminate the need for energy imports, boost technological advances, create in-state jobs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and harmful heavy metals such as mercury and cadmium.”

He added, “However, there are challenges to using feedstock for wood, charcoal and pellets. To provide biomass form conversion into bio-fuel, we must develop the technologies and systems needed to sustainably and economically deliver a broad range of biomass in formats that enable efficiency use of refineries.”

Dr Shu concluded, “Therefore, R&D should explore biomass specifications and characteristics, the effects of various handling techniques, and the resulting impact on conversion performance to improve quality, reduce costs, and increase productivity.”

Dr Shu speaking on the challenges of renewable energy generation

Speaking on ‘Development of Cutting Edge Biological Nitrogen Removal’, Dr Lin explained how we can generate energy and reclaim water from wastewater treatment.

He said, “Biological treatment systems are preferred when the concentration of wastewater is generally less than 2kg/m. Classic biological nitrogen removal consists of nitrification and denitrification, while modern removal consists of Anammox-based processes.”

Anammox-based process has the potential to successfully remove nitrogen and organic carbon compounds from wastewater in labs and field-scale tests. It has been employed in the treatment of a variety of wastewater including landfill leachate, sewage, and industrial wastewaters.

Dr Lin recounting the development of Biological Nitrogen Removal

Speaking on ‘Combustion Fundamental’, Dr Chen said, “Two fundamental things always happen when combustion occurs. Species composition of the mixture changes with time and these changes are caused by processes at the molecular level. Weak molecular bonds and excessive bond energy are liberated to the system, usually causing a very large increase in temperature.”

Combustion is a chemical reaction between substances, usually including oxygen, and accompanied by the generation of heat and light in the form of a flame. Usually, such chemical reactions are taken place under a controllable environment to produce heat and power. Uncontrollable combustion can cause fire.

Jointly organised by UTAR Centre for Extension Education, Department of Consultancy and Commercialisation and UST, the talks were organised for UTAR staff and students, researchers, working professionals and industry practitioners.

Wholly owned by UTAR Education Foundation (200201010564(578227-M))        LEGAL STATEMENT   TERM OF USAGE   PRIVACY NOTICE