Ask Me Anything (AMA) session: Cancer Research Malaysia Panel

Following the success of our first AMA session with Dr Betty Sim (link here), it is now time for the second session of Scientific Malaysian Ask Me Anything (AMA) series! This time, it’ll actually be an “Ask Us Anything” session with a panel of scientists from Cancer Research Malaysia (CRM). This is in conjunction with our upcoming issue of Scientific Malaysian Magazine, which will be focusing on Cancer.

Throughout this AMA session, registered members of Scientific Malaysian will have the opportunity to post questions to the panel. The CRM panel consists of the following three scientists:

Prof. Dr Cheong Sok Ching
Senior Group Leader, Head and Neck Cancer Research, Cancer Research Malaysia and
Adjunct Professor, Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Malaya

Prof. Cheong has 20 years of experience in molecular and cell biology, and over 15 years of experience in working within multi-disciplinary teams to set up tissue and data banks and to conduct research in the area of head and neck cancer. Her team’s research has focused on the development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of head and neck cancers through several approaches. First, using high-throughput technologies including microarrays and next generation sequencing (NGS) her team has identified key driver genes that are exclusively expressed in head and neck cancers, and developed cancer vaccines against these that are currently in preclinical testing. Second, her team developed a bioinformatics tool that leverages on differential gene expression to predict drug response that has resulted in the preclinical testing of several clinically approved drugs that could be repurposed for the treatment of head and neck cancer. Third, using a panel of unique cell lines developed from Asian patients, she has initiated CRISPR/Cas9 screens to identify genes that are critical for the survival of head and neck cancer with the aim to develop novel drugs against these targets. Prof. Cheong has on-going collaborations in the area of oral cancer biology with many research groups in and out of Malaysia including those from Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, University of San Diego, San Francisco, University of Southampton, UK amongst others. Further, she have been working closely with a large network of clinical colleagues for the last 15 years and would be able to work within this team to effectively validate laboratory findings in the clinical setting.

Dr. Muhammad Mamduh Zabidi
Post-Doctoral Scientist, Breast Cancer Team

Dr. Mamduh Zabidi grew up in Bagan Datok, Perak, where he cultivated his love for science and nature. He received his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from Purdue University, USA under government scholarship. He later returned to Malaysia and worked in Cancer Research Malaysia, while completed his Masters degree in Molecular Medicine at the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. He later moved to Austria to pursue a doctoral degree in computational biology in Stark group at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology, which is funded primarily by Boehringer Ingelheim. He is now back in Cancer Research Malaysia as a postdoctoral scientist.

Nur Tiara Hassan
Assoc. Genetic Counsellor, Familial Cancer Research Group

Nur Tiara Hassan received her bachelor degree in Genetics and Molecular Biology from University Malaya, Kuala Lumpur under the Malaysian Public Service Department Scholarship. She then worked for a year at Cancer Research Malaysia as a Research Associate/ Trainee Genetic Counsellor under the supervision of Ms Yoon Sook Yee (HGSA Certified Genetic Counsellor), who guided and nurtured her in the field of genetic counselling. She later went to Sydney to complete her 2 years clinical Masters in Genetic Counselling from the University of Sydney, Australia, under Sime Darby Foundation Scholarship in 2016. Ms. Tiara is now back in Cancer Research Malaysia as an Associate Genetic Counsellor providing genetic counselling for genetic testing for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (BRCA1, BRCA2, TP3 and PALB2) and other inherited cancer predisposition disorders in a research setting, apart from conducting research.  Ms. Tiara’s research interest focuses on psychosocial and qualitative studies.

Please post your questions or vote for existing questions posted by other members in our AMA discussion thread here! Questions will only be accepted until August 28, 2017. Register to be a member of Scientific Malaysian for free to participate!