The Organising Committee of Monash Science Symposium 2016 are pleased to announce the following Guest Speakers!

Keynote Speakers

Associate Professor Dr. Bayden Robert Wood

Monash University Australia

Associate Professor Bayden Robert Wood is an Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow working at the Centre for Biospectroscopy located in the School of Chemistry, Monash University. He completed his PhD in 1999 under the supervision of Professor Don McNaughton where he pioneered new ways to analyse cells and tissues using infrared modalities. He now has his own group focused on applying vibrational spectroscopic techniques to solve a range of biomedical and biological problems including malaria diagnosis and treatment, dengue and Wolbachia detection in mosquitoes, cancer diagnosis, testing novel drugs for cancer treatment, HIV, HBV and HCV diagnosis, stem cell research, heart disease, liver disease, phytoplankton studies, aquatic wetland studies and fundamental studies into how light interacts with cells and tissues. He has over 100 peer reviewed journal articles and 10 book chapters with a H-index of 36 and was the 2014 recipient of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) as 2014 Doreen Clark Medal. His vision is to set up a Centre for Clinical Spectroscopy specialized in combatting major infectious diseases from both a diagnostic and treatment perspective utilizing state-of-the-art point-of-care spectrometers and artificial intelligent systems.

Professor Dr. Philip J Marriott

Monash University Australia


Professor Marriott obtained his PhD from LaTrobe University, Melbourne. He undertook postdoctoral research at the University of Bristol, UK, in Organic Geochemistry. His first academic appointment was at the National University of Singapore, School of Chemistry. After 5 years in Singapore, he returned to Australia, to RMIT University. In 2010, he moved to his present position at Monash University, Melbourne. He received an Australian Research Council Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award in 2013. He has had extended Australian Academy of Science professional visits to China and Portugal, and received a World Class University Distinguished Professorship under the Korean National Research Foundation.  In 2015, he was appointed as a CNPq Special Researcher, to work with the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and with Embrapa, Brazil. His primary research is in gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, specifically in comprehensive 2D GC and multidimensional GC, with mass spectrometry, covering fundamental method development and a broad applications base. Professor Marriott has published 350 research papers and book chapters. 

Dr. Mahaletchumy Arujanan

Malaysian Biotechnology Information Centre (MABIC)

Dr. Mahaletchumy is the Executive Director of Malaysian Biotechnology Information Centre (MABIC) and Editor-in-Chief of The Petri Dish – the first science newspaper in Malaysia. She has a degree in Biochemistry and Microbiology from Universiti Putra Malaysia, Masters in Biotechnology and PhD in science communication from University of Malaya. She is listed as the world’s 100 most influential people in biotechnology by Scientific American Worldview 2015. She is also listed in the honorific list of Women in Biotechnology Law and Regulation as part of Biotechnology Law Report 2015 published by Mary Ann Liebert Inc, among 23 other women scientists and lawyers. Maha won the 2010 Third World Academy of Science Regional Prize for Public Understanding of Science for East, Southeast Asia and Pacific Region. 

She is actively involved in public understanding of biotechnology locally and internationally involving issues like policies, regulations, communication, business, ethics, religion and education. Maha sits on the National Bioethics Council and the Selangor Bio Council and on advisory panels of a number of universities. She is also a trainer for BiotechCorp and the Industry Cluster of Excellence (Ministry of Higher Education) to give career guidance to graduates. She is an Adjunct Lecturer at Monash University Sunway. She is also regularly invited to review biotechnology degree programmes at universities and sits on various committees and panels both at the national and international level.

She has excellent working relationships with various ministries, government agencies, research institutes, public and private universities, industries, and various international organizations. Maha is also known for her non-traditional approaches in communicating biotechnology such as fashion show and carnivals. She has published chapters, papers and articles on science/biotech communication and biotechnology development. She currently is involved in various social activities that inspires young people to have dreams and in unlocking their potential.

Invited Speakers


Dr. Lee Learn Han

Monash University Malaysia

Dr. Lee Learn Han is a senior lecturer of molecular biology, principle investigator of Novel Bacteria and Drug Discovery Research Group, School of Pharmacy, Monash University Malaysia. Dr. Lee was awarded the Ph.D in Molecular Biology from University Putra Malaysia with the grade of distinction. Currently, his researches focus on the study of novel bacteria identification and bio-prospecting of secondary metabolites with antimicrobial and anticancer properties. He is the lifetime member of Bergey’s International Society for Microbial Systematics (BISMiS) and associate member of Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI). Furthermore he is the editorial board member for reputable journals such as Frontiers in Microbiology (IF: 4.165) and Frontiers in Pharmacology (IF: 4.418). He also serves as reviewer for various high impact journals such as Frontiers in Microbiology (IF: 4.165), Journal of Nanobiotechnology (IF: 4.08), International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology (IF: 2.798) and others. Now he has published 2 academic book and 60 articles, with a total citation of 457 and H-index of 13 (Google scholar citation). He has received 18 items of awards from various reputable institutions.


Dr. Chai Lay Ching

University of Malaya

Dr. Chai is currently a senior lecturer at Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Malaya, Malaysia. Dr. Chai obtained her PhD on food safety from Universiti Putra Malaysia in 2008. After that, she was offered a post-doctoral fellowship with the same university to work on microbial risk assessment in food safety, before she joined University of Malaya as a senior lecturer in 2010. Dr. Chai has published more than 50 peer-reviewed papers on food safety, particularly on foodborne and waterborne pathogens. She is actively involved in food safety education and provides training on microbial risk assessment (MRA) to food safety officers in the country. Dr. Chai is one of the principle investigators of the MRA of emetic Bacillus cereus in UHT milk and MRA of edible ice project in Malaysia. Recently, she has been awarded the International Association of Food Protection 2016 Travel Award. Dr. Chai’s current research interest involves applying next generation sequencing technology in food safety risk assessment and has been invited as a member of ILSI Europe’s expert group on ‘The Use Of Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS): A Food Industry Perspective’. Besides being active in research, Dr. Chai is an active member of the Young Scientists Network-Academy of Sciences Malaysia (YSN-ASM). She has been appointed as the co-chair of the YSN-ASM Responsible Conduct of Research Programme to promote research integrity in the country. 


Professor Dr. Sunil L. Kal

Monash University Malaysia

Professor Sunil K. Lal joined the School of Science, Monash University, Malaysia in 2014. By training, Prof. Sunil is a PhD in Microbial Genetics from Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta (USA) in 1989 following which he was appointed Faculty at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena (USA). In 1994 Prof. Sunil joined as a Senior Research Scientist at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology (ICGEB), New Delhi where he worked for 22 years. Prof. Sunil is internationally well known for his research work in the field of Tropical and Infectious Disease Biology. He has been a visiting scientist to Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, National University of Singapore, Karolinska Institute, Sweden and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Atlanta. His main research focus has been on host-virus interactions in Hepatitis E virus, SARS-Coronavirus and Influenza A virus.

Prof. Sunil has won many prestigious international awards and has been the ambassador to the American Society for Microbiology for 9 years. Currently he is a Board Member of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) at Washington DC. Prof. Sunil is an Elected Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences (India) and a Member of the Executive Council of the Indian Microbiologists Association. He is on the panel of many international government committees including DRDO’s Life Sciences Research Board (India), Dept. of Biotechnology and the Board of Education - Amity University. Prof. Sunil is on the editorial board of International Journals and is actively involved in peer-reviewing for some of the top-tier scientific journals. Prof. Sunil has over 100 publications in international scientific journals and has published three international books on emerging viral diseases. Prof. Sunil leads an active research group on Molecular Virology at Monash University, Malaysia.

Associate Professor Dr. Hwang Jung Shan

Sunway University

Hwang Jung Shan obtained her PhD at the University of Melbourne, Australia. During her PhD, since she was working on gene regulation of transcription factor in Escherichia coli, Hwang became interested in the field of molecular biology. After graduated, Hwang spent two years and worked on the RNA polymerase of Influenza virus at the National Institute of Genetics, Japan. She went on to do her research in the same institute and spent the next ten years studying the evolutionary developmental biology of cnidarians, where she published in noted journals such as “Nature”, “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA”, “Trends in Genetics” and PLOS One. Continuing her research interest, Hwang joined UCSI University’s Faculty of Applied Sciences in 2010. Later she started her research on toxins of Hydra and moon jellyfish. Her current research interest focuses the characterisation of toxins found in Hydra, as well as the production of immunotoxin for the treatment of inflammatory diseases.


Professor Dr. Edward R.T. Tiekink

Sunway University

Professor Edward received his formal academic qualifications from the University of Melbourne, including a D.Sc. in 2006, in recognition of his work in chemical crystallography and metal-based drugs. Recently, Edward joined Sunway University, where he a Distinguished Professor and Head of the Research Centre for Crystalline Materials.  While the focus of on-going research is chemical crystallography/crystal engineering (weak intermolecular interactions), work also continues in developing metal-based drugs for a variety of disease.

Dr. Emily Goh Joo Kheng

Monash University Malaysia

Dr. Emily Goh is currently a senior lecturer and Deputy Head of School (Education) in the School of Science, Monash University Malaysia. Her research group focuses on isolation and identification of bioactive compounds from medicinal plants and she has particular interest in the synthesis of bioactive compounds. She has published more than 20 papers in reputed journals and has been serving as an journal reviewer in a number of repute.            


Assoc Professor Jason Smith

University of Tasmania

Assoc Professor Jason Smith is a graduate of the Flinders University of South Australia where he obtained both his BSc (Hons) and PhD degrees, the latter under the supervision of Professor Rolf Prager. He has carried out post- doctoral research at The Texas A&M University (with Professor Sir Derek H. R. Barton) and at The Australian National University (with Professor Martin G Banwell). In 2001 he joined the faculty in the School of Chemistry at The University of Tasmania where his research activities focus on synthetic methodologies and their application to the synthesis of biologically active and/or structurally complex molecules and natural products isolation.




Assistant Professor Dr. Eric Chan Wei Chiang

UCSI University

Dr. Eric is currently a Chemistry lecturer at UCSI University in Malaysia. He received his PhD from Monash University, and have 50 publications related to food science, and natural product chemistry and pharmacology to date. His research expertise lies in various fields including herbs and spices, bioactivities, chemical constituents, as well as CMC and hydrogels. Recently, he decided to venture into green and sustainable chemistry as environmental issues affecting the globe are becoming more urgent every year. His first paper on green chemistry was published late last year, formalizing his entry into this field of study.

Dr. Siow Lee Fong

Monash University Malaysia

Dr Siow Lee Fong is a Senior Lecturer in the Food Science and Technology course at Monash University Malaysia and has been awarded the Pro-Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching eight times. She graduated from Universiti Sains Malaysia (BSC Hons) and University of Otago (PhD). Her pHD studies investigated the cryostability of large unilamellar vesicles as model membranes and the mechanism of action of cryoprotective agents. More recently Dr Siow’s research has focused on phase behaviour of fats and oils, food processing, microencapsulation and controlled release and food product development. She is a past winner of the National Starch Food Innovation Award (New Zealand, 2006) and has published 20 papers in the areas of frozen food chemistry, microencapsulation and controlled release and effect of food processes on the antioxidant properties of bioactive compounds.


Dr. Tam Sheh May

Taylor's University

Sheh May Tam, Ph. D.  is currently a Senior Lecturer at the School of Biosciences, Taylor’s University, Malaysia. Dr Tam obtained her PhD in Plant Systematics and Evolution from the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom in 2002. Her research interest centers on the fields of plant evolutionary genetics and biodiversity and current specific investigations include both macro and micro-evolutionary genetics  studies involving the regulation of homologous recombination in tomato and wild relatives, plant pollinator co-evolutionary study of Bulbophyllum spp. (Orchidaceae), genomics studies and marker development in Ludisia discolor, and Chiloschista sweelimii (Orchidaceae), miRNA regulation of the lignin biosynthesis pathway in Acacia mangium and mutagenesis impact of transposable elements in host plants. She has successfully worked in different national and international research institutes in France, and the United States of America. 

Dr. Gan Han Ming

Monash University Malaysia

Dr Han Ming Gan received a full JPA scholarship to the Rochester Institute of Technology (USA) at which he graduated with a B.Sc. (Biotechnology) in 2008 with a first-author paper in Journal of Bacteriology. He continued his study locally at the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and earned his PhD in 2011. Dr Gan spent 2 years working as an Application Scientist in ScienceVision SB, the sole distributor of advanced DNA sequencing machine in Malaysia before joining Monash University Malaysia as the inaugural Post-Doctoral Research Fellow of the Tropical Medicine and Biology Multidisciplinary Platform. Exposure to both international research and real-world business environments enabled him to rapidly transform the Genomics Facility from a start-up lab in 2013 into one of the most successful research labs in Monash University Malaysia. Dr Gan’s research focuses on using genomic techniques to investigate the evolutionary relationship of microbes and their fascinating ability to communicate among themselves.


Lam Wai Yee

Kenyir Research Institute, University Malaysia Terengganu 


Wai Yee is the Technical Advisor to the Harimau Selamanya project. She is currently working part-time for this project, while pursuing her MSc degree in Conservation Science in Universiti Malaysia Terengganu under a scholarship from Panthera. Wai Yee has been investigating the spatiotemporal patterns of poachers in the forests of Malaysia, and applying crime science techniques to devise tactical strategies for rangers to improve law enforcement efficiency. She has a BA in Psychology from UCSI University, Malaysia. A Malaysian who grew up in Bandung, Indonesia, she’s had plenty of diverse work experience, flying around as airlines staff, volunteering in Cambodia with children from poverty-stricken communities, and carrying out intensive camera-trapping as a researcher under the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). She’s also quite partial to fields!

Associate Professor Dr. Catherine Yule 

Monash University Malaysia


Assoc Prof Catherine Yule's field of expertise is tropical aquatic ecology. She has undertaken pioneering research in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Malaysia over the past 30 years. Her studies have involved global collaborations with over 100 researchers to gain an understanding of tropical ecosystem functioning and the impacts of climate change.  Her present research focuses on the ecology of tropical peat swamp forests, an extreme and endangered environment which is home to many novel species including new microbes with antibiotic potential.





Professor Christopher M. Austin

Monash University Malaysia

Professor Chris Austin is Professor of Tropical Biology and Head of Genomics at Monash University Malaysia. His research is primarily focussed on the genetics and evolution of aquatic species, including commercial fish and aquaculture species, and he has had a long interest in the use and development of cutting edge molecular genetic and genomic tools.

Professor Austin established the Monash University Malaysia Genomics Facility in 2013 which uses next generation DNA sequencing for a diverse range of projects in the biological and health related sciences and is equipped with the latest bench-top DNA sequencers and supporting infrastructure. Previously he was appointed as the inaugural Director of the Monash University Malaysia’s Tropical Medicine and Biology Research Platform with a mission to support multi-disciplinary research on topics of scientific significance and important to Malaysia.

Over the last 25 years Professor Austin has authored over 150 publications and reports, the majority of which are articles in refereed international journals and he regularly acts as an expert reviewer for leading journals in the biological sciences.Professor Austin has supervised over 20 postgraduate students and formed many productive collaborations with Asian, Australian and other international scientists.